On behalf of: European Aviation Safety Agency
Type: Advisory Services
Domain: Aviation Safety
Period: 2021 – 2024
This research project addresses the safety recommendation (SR) 2016-016 from the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch (UK AAIB) report AAR 1/2016 on the accident of helicopter G-WNSB on 23 August 2013: “It is recommended that the European Aviation Safety Agency instigates a research programme to provide realistic data to better support regulations relating to evacuation and survivability of occupants in commercial helicopters operating offshore. This programme should better quantify the characteristics of helicopter underwater evacuation and include conditions representative of actual offshore operations and passenger demographics.”
An initial review into the nature of the research was commissioned by EASA in 2020. The results of the first Helicopter Underwater Escape research project provided a comprehensive review of currently available information on underwater escape, identified shortfalls, and recommended further work to rectify this lack of information.
Two of the highest-priority recommendations identified in the previous project will be addressed by this research project, namely forces required to jettison push-out underwater emergency exits and underwater escape from the passenger cabin with a full complement of passengers.
This action will provide information to assist future rulemaking activities aimed at improving the likelihood of a successful escape in survivable helicopter water impact accidents. Said rulemaking activities could potentially lead to proposed amendments to the Certification Specifications for Rotorcraft (CS-27 and CS-29), Air Operations Rules for helicopter offshore operations (HOFO) and additional airworthiness specifications (Part 26 and CS 26), and all the associated AMC and guidance material (GM).
The output will also provide valuable technical information to support the development of the eVTOL and urban air mobility rules, requirements and means of compliance material to enhance survivability of occupants following accidents during overwater operations.