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Helicopter Safety

Volume 77: debated on Wednesday 24 April 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to ensure that the crew of commercial helicopters will be required at all times whilst on board to wear lifejackets incorporating dual frequency (121.5 and 243Mhz) personal locater beacons, in line with the safety recommendations of the inspector of aircraft accident report 8/84 on the accident involving British Airways' helicopter S-61N, G-BEON, in the sea near the Isles of Scilly.

[pursuant to his reply, 15 April 1985, c. 54]: Existing lifejackets can be uncomfortable to wear and cause fatigue, especially in hot weather or when used in conjunction with immersion suits. A new type of lifejacket is being developed and is likely to be comfortable enough to wear on the majority of occasions.All offshore operators equip their flight crew with personal location beacons which operate on 121ยท5 and 243 Mhz, as required by ICAO, and an amendment to the Air Navigation Order 1980 will require all public transport helicoptors and gyroplanes from 3 March 1986 to carry automatically deployable emergency beacons transmitting simultaneously on both those frequencies.At present, the CAA do not insist that helicopter crews should wear lifejackets at all times, because existing jackets can be uncomfortable and tiring in hot weather, or with an immersion suit.

Additionally, the Air Navigation Order 1980 will be amended to require all public transport helicopters and gyroplanes to be equipped with automatically deployable emergency beacons from 3 March 1986.