Recommendation Date
Recipient Name
A safety issue identified during the inquiry was the widespread practice of allowing passengers to leave and return to helicopters parked on snow while the rotors are turning. Frequently the pilot will also disembark to guide the passengers while they move under the main rotor disc. There is a serious risk to people on the ground if a helicopter has settled into fresh snow or it breaks through an apparently hard surface crust. Should this happen the clearance between the rotor disc and people walking beneath could reduce sufficiently for someone to be struck by the rotor blades.

On 25 May 2017 the Commission recommended that the Director of Civil Aviation ensure that helicopter operators who conduct snow landings address in their safety management systems the hazard of passenger disembarkation and embarkation during those landings while the rotors are turning.
Reply Text
In accordance with the provisions of Civil Aviation Rules Part 119: Air Operator - Certification, helicopter operators have until 1 February 2021 to introduce a Safety Management System. Given that timeline, the Director accepts the recommendation and will ensure that when operators' Safety Management Systems are certificated all significant aviation risks are identified and managed.
Related Investigation(s)