Congressman Sherman Introduces Helicopter Safety Act
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) and Senator Dianne Feinstein, along with Senator Kamala Harris, introduced today the Helicopter Safety Act of 2020, which will require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to strengthen federal safety standards for equipping helicopters. Congressman Sherman moved to introduce this legislation in the wake of the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the life of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others on January 26, 2020 in Calabasas, California.
In crafting this legislation, Congressman Sherman worked with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is charged with investigating tragedies like the one that occurred in Calabasas. The National Transportation Safety Board formally recommended in 2004 that passenger helicopters be equipped with a Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) and two years later they also recommended that helicopters be equipped with a flight data recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR). Unfortunately, the FAA refused to act on these safety recommendations.
“In 2004, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended to the FAA that all helicopters be equipped with a Terrain Awareness and Warning System. Unfortunately, the FAA refused to follow this recommendation to require the safety system” said Congressman Sherman. “The Helicopter Safety Act of 2020 will finally direct the FAA to require these safety features for passenger helicopters in order to avoid tragedies like the one that claimed the life of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others.”
“Despite NTSB recommendations 15 years ago that the FAA make terrain awareness equipment and other safety technology mandatory on all helicopters, some of this lifesaving equipment is only required to be installed in ambulances. That’s simply unacceptable,” Senator Feinstein said. “We saw the deadly results of this inaction in January when a helicopter carrying basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others crashed. If that helicopter had terrain awareness equipment, the tragedy may have been averted. This commonsense bill will save lives, and Congress should act to pass it immediately.”
The Helicopter Safety Act of 2020 will finally direct the FAA to require that these safety features be required for passenger helicopters, as recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board.