FAA boosts helicopter safety regs

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The Federal Aviation Administration is requiring helicopters to be equipped with radio altitude meters and life preserver vests for pilots to wear, the agency announced on Thursday. 

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the changes were a part of historic improvement in U.S. helicopter safety. 

“This is a landmark rule for helicopter safety,” Foxx said in a statement. “These improvements will better prepare pilots and better equip helicopters, ensuring a higher level of safety for passengers and crew.”

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Under the new rules, the DOT is also requiring helicopters to be equipped with emergency location transmitters that could be used in the event of accidents, and new weather warning systems.

The agency said it is also strengthening its requirements for helicopter flight plans to be adjusted in inclement weather.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta agreed with Foxx that “this rule is a significant advancement in helicopter safety.

 “This rule will help reduce risk and help pilots make good safety decisions through the use of better training, procedures, and equipment,” Huerta said.