[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 76 (Monday, April 21, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 22009-22012]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-09034]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
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Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 76 / Monday, April 21, 2014 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 22009]]



DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Parts 91, 120, and 135

[Docket No.: FAA-2010-0982; Amdt. Nos. 91-330, 120-2; 135-129]
RIN 2120-AK47


Extension of Effective Date for the Helicopter Air Ambulance, 
Commercial Helicopter, and Part 91 Helicopter Operations Final Rule

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Final rule; delay of effective date and request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The FAA is delaying the effective date of the Helicopter Air 
Ambulance, Commercial Helicopter, and Part 91 Helicopter Operations 
final rule published on February 21, 2014. In that rule, the FAA 
amended its regulations to revise the helicopter air ambulance, 
commercial helicopter, and general aviation helicopter operating 
requirements. The April 22, 2014 effective date does not provide an 
adequate amount of time for the affected certificate holders to 
implement the new requirements. By extending the effective date to 
April 22, 2015, the affected certificate holders will have sufficient 
time to implement the new requirements. This action will only affect 
the effective date of the provisions of the rule scheduled to take 
effect April 22, 2014. Other provisions in the rule with specified 
compliance dates will not be affected.

DATES: The effective date of the rule amending 14 CFR Parts 91, 120, 
and 135 published February 21, 2014 (79 FR 9932), is delayed until 
April 22, 2015. The amendment to Sec.  135.293 in this document is 
effective April 22, 2015.
    Submit comments on or before May 21, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2010-0982 
using any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for sending your 
comments electronically.
     Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30; U.S. 
Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room 
W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket 
Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.
    Privacy: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments 
from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts 
these comments, without edit, including any personal information the 
commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system 
of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 
www.dot.gov/privacy.
    Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at 
http://www.regulations.gov at any time. Follow the online instructions 
for accessing the docket or Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the 
West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, 
DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal 
holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical questions concerning 
this action, contact Andy Pierce, Air Transportation Division, AFS-200, 
Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC 20591; telephone (202) 267-8238; email 
andy.pierce@faa.gov.
    For legal questions concerning this action, contact Dean E. 
Griffith, Office of Chief Counsel, AGC-220, Federal Aviation 
Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; 
telephone (202) 267-3073; email dean.griffith@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Good Cause for Dispensing With Notice and Comment and for Immediate 
Adoption

    Section 553(b)(3)(B) of Title 5, United States Code, (the 
Administrative Procedure Act) authorizes agencies to dispense with 
notice and comment procedures for rules when the agency for ``good 
cause'' finds that those procedures are ``impracticable, unnecessary, 
or contrary to the public interest.'' Under this section, an agency, 
upon finding good cause, may issue a final rule without seeking comment 
prior to the rulemaking.
    The FAA finds that prior notice and public comment to this final 
rule are contrary to the public interest. This final rule extends the 
effective date for the Helicopter Air Ambulance, Commercial Helicopter, 
and Part 91 Helicopter Operations final rule from April 22, 2014 to 
April 22, 2015. By extending the effective date, affected entities will 
have sufficient time to implement the new requirements. Without the 
extension of the effective date, regulated entities would not have 
sufficient time to prepare to meet the new requirements that were 
scheduled to take effect April 22, 2014. If these entities are not 
prepared to meet the new requirements then, beginning April 23, 2014, 
they would not be able to continue conducting part 135 operations and 
would not be able to meet the new part 91 requirements. Therefore, the 
FAA has determined that prior notice and public comment are contrary to 
the public interest.
    The Administrative Procedure Act also allows agencies to dispense 
with the 30-day delayed effective date requirement for ``good cause 
found and published with the rule.'' 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). The FAA has 
determined that good cause exists to make this rule immediately 
effective upon publication. As discussed above the Helicopter Air 
Ambulance, Commercial Helicopter, and Part 91 Helicopter Operations 
final rule takes effect April 22, 2014. If the delay of the effective 
date is not made immediately effective there would be a period of time 
under which certificate holders would be in jeopardy of not being able 
to continue part 135 operations because of inability to satisfy the new 
requirements and part 91 operators would not be able to meet new 
requirements applicable to them. The delayed effective date must take 
effect

[[Page 22010]]

before April 22, 2014 to ensure certificate holders can continue to 
operate.

Comments Invited

    The FAA is adopting this final rule without prior notice and public 
comment because delaying the amendment could result in a negative 
impact to certificate holders conducting part 135 rotorcraft 
operations, part 91 rotorcraft operators, and the public that relies on 
those certificate holders. The Regulatory Policies and Procedures of 
the Department of Transportation (DOT) (44 FR 11034; Feb. 26, 1979), 
provide that to the maximum extent possible, operating administrations 
for the DOT should provide an opportunity for public comment on 
regulations issued without prior notice. All comments will be 
considered by the Administrator and this amendment may be changed in 
light of the comments received. We note that, although the FAA will 
consider comments, this rule will be effective upon publication of this 
document in the Federal Register.

Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety is found in 
Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106(f) 
describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, 
Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's 
authority.
    This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in 
Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701. Under that section, 
the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations and minimum standards 
for practices, methods and procedures the Administrator finds necessary 
for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within the scope of that 
authority because it addresses safety of rotorcraft operations.

I. Overview of Final Rule With Request for Comments

    This final rule with request for comments extends the effective 
date for the Helicopter Air Ambulance, Commercial Helicopter, and Part 
91 Helicopter Operations final rule published on February 21, 2014 (79 
FR 9932). In that rule, the FAA established several operational rules 
for part 91 rotorcraft operators and part 135 rotorcraft operators 
which are scheduled to take effect April 22, 2014. This final rule 
extends the effective date to April 22, 2015 to provide a sufficient 
amount of time for the affected operators and certificate holders to 
implement the new requirements. This action does not affect the 
provisions of the rule with a specific compliance date that are 
discussed later in this document.

II. Background

A. Statement of the Problem

    There are approximately 5,465 rotorcraft pilots and 496 certificate 
holders conducting part 135 rotorcraft operations that are affected by 
the new requirements established in the February 21 rule. Moreover, all 
part 91 operations in class G airspace under visual flight rules will 
be affected by this rule. Multiple steps are required by the FAA and 
the regulated community for operators to implement the new 
requirements. However, it is not feasible for the FAA or rotorcraft 
operators to complete all the necessary steps by April 22, 2014. 
Consequently, operators will not be able to meet the operational 
requirements and thus will not be able to conduct part 135 operations 
or follow the new part 91 requirements beginning April 23, 2014. 
Therefore, the FAA is extending the rule's effective date to April 22, 
2015 to provide a sufficient amount of time for the affected entities 
to complete all the necessary steps to implement the new requirements.

III. Discussion of Final Rule With Request for Comments

    As stated above, the current effective date of the Helicopter Air 
Ambulance, Commercial Helicopter, and Part 91 Helicopter Operations 
final rule is April 22, 2014. Since the publication of the rule, it has 
become evident that this effective date does not allow certificate 
holders sufficient time to complete all the necessary steps to 
implement the new rule.
    As one example, pilots are currently required to complete written 
or oral knowledge testing and a flight competency check every 12 
calendar months. New Sec.  135.293(a)(9) requires rotorcraft pilots to 
complete knowledge testing on ``procedures for aircraft handling in 
flat-light, whiteout, and brownout conditions, including methods for 
recognizing and avoiding those conditions'' during their next written 
or oral test after April 22, 2014. New Sec.  135.293(c) requires 
rotorcraft pilots to complete ``a demonstration of the pilot's ability 
to maneuver the rotorcraft solely by reference to instruments'' during 
their next competency check after April 22, 2014.
    In order to implement these new requirements, certificate holders 
must complete several steps, such as developing the procedures for 
testing aircraft handling in flat-light, whiteout, and brownout 
conditions, revising the approved training program to address the new 
requirements, and training instructors and check pilots prior to 
beginning the training, testing, and checking of rotorcraft pilots. The 
April 22, 2014 compliance date does not provide adequate time for 
certificate holders to complete these necessary steps and therefore the 
compliance date will be delayed to April 22, 2015. We note that this is 
the only provision requiring a specific change of rule text. In 
addition, we are revising the rule text to clarify the compliance date 
for this section.
    In addition, the FAA has determined that the April 22, 2014 
effective date does not provide sufficient time for the FAA or the 
regulated community to implement the other operational rules which are 
currently scheduled to take effect on that date. However, the FAA has 
determined that provisions with delayed compliance dates in the 
Helicopter Air Ambulance, Commercial Helicopter, and Part 91 Helicopter 
Operations final rule do not need to be extended under this action. 
This is because the FAA will have sufficient time to prepare guidance 
for regulated entities in advance of the compliance dates for these 
provisions. The FAA is not extending the compliance dates of the 
following provisions:
     135.160, Radio altimeters for rotorcraft operations--
compliance date April 24, 2017.
     135.168, Emergency equipment: Overwater rotorcraft 
operations (406 MHz emergency locator transmitter)--compliance date 
April 24, 2017.
     135.603, Pilot-in-command instrument qualifications--
compliance date April 24, 2017.
     135.605, Helicopter terrain awareness and warning system 
(HTAWS)--compliance date April 24, 2017.
     135.607, Flight Data Monitoring System--compliance date 
April 23, 2018.
     135.619, Operations control centers--compliance date April 
22, 2016.

IV. Regulatory Notices and Analyses

A. Regulatory Evaluation

    Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic 
analyses. First, Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563 direct 
that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon 
a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation 
justify its costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. 
L. 96-354) requires agencies to analyze the economic

[[Page 22011]]

impact of regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the Trade 
Agreements Act (Pub. L. 96-39) prohibits agencies from setting 
standards that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of 
the United States. In developing U.S. standards, the Trade Act requires 
agencies to consider international standards and, where appropriate, 
that they be the basis of U.S. standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4) requires agencies to prepare a 
written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects of 
proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result 
in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the 
aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more annually 
(adjusted for inflation with base year of 1995). This portion of the 
preamble summarizes the FAA's analysis of the economic impacts of this 
final rule.
    Department of Transportation Order DOT 2100.5 prescribes policies 
and procedures for simplification, analysis, and review of regulations. 
If the expected cost impact is so minimal that a proposed or final rule 
does not warrant a full evaluation, this order permits that a statement 
to that effect and the basis for it to be included in the preamble if a 
full regulatory evaluation of the cost and benefits is not prepared. 
Such a determination has been made for this final rule. The reasoning 
for this determination follows.
    The FAA is extending the effective date for the rules published in 
the Helicopter Air Ambulance, Commercial Helicopter, and Part 91 
Helicopter Operations final rule on February 21, 2014 that are 
scheduled to take effect on April 22, 2014. The effective date of April 
22, 2014 does not provide an adequate amount of time for the affected 
certificate holders to implement the new requirements. By extending the 
effective date to April 22, 2015, the affected certificate holders will 
have sufficient time to implement the new requirements.
    The expected outcome will be cost relieving for certificate holders 
operating rotorcraft under part 135 and part 91 operators, and 
therefore a regulatory evaluation was not prepared. The FAA requests 
comments with supporting justification about the FAA determination of 
minimal impact.
    The FAA has, therefore, determined that this final rule is not a 
``significant regulatory action'' as defined in section 3(f) of 
Executive Order 12866, and is not ``significant'' as defined in DOT's 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Determination

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354) (RFA) 
establishes ``as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall 
endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable 
statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale 
of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions 
subject to regulation. To achieve this principle, agencies are required 
to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain 
the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals are given 
serious consideration.'' The RFA covers a wide-range of small entities, 
including small businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and small 
governmental jurisdictions.
    Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a rule will 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. If the agency determines that it will, the agency must 
prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in the RFA.
    However, if an agency determines that a rule is not expected to 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities, section 605(b) of the RFA provides that the head of the 
agency may so certify and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required. The certification must include a statement providing the 
factual basis for this determination, and the reasoning should be 
clear.
    This final rule does not impose any additional costs on affected 
entities. Therefore, as provided in section 605(b), the FAA certifies 
that this rulemaking will not result in a significant economic impact 
on a substantial number of small entities.

C. International Trade Impact Assessment

    The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39), as amended by the 
Uruguay Round Agreements Act (Pub. L. 103-465), prohibits Federal 
agencies from establishing standards or engaging in related activities 
that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United 
States. Pursuant to these Acts, the establishment of standards is not 
considered an unnecessary obstacle to the foreign commerce of the 
United States, so long as the standard has a legitimate domestic 
objective, such as the protection of safety, and does not operate in a 
manner that excludes imports that meet this objective. The statute also 
requires consideration of international standards and, where 
appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. standards. The FAA has 
assessed the potential effect of this final rule and determined that it 
will have only a domestic impact and therefore no effect on 
international trade.

D. Unfunded Mandates Assessment

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-
4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement 
assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final 
agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more 
(in 1995 dollars) in any one year by State, local, and tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector; such a mandate 
is deemed to be a ``significant regulatory action.'' The FAA currently 
uses an inflation-adjusted value of $151 million in lieu of $100 
million. This final rule does not contain such a mandate; therefore, 
the requirements of Title II of the Act do not apply.

E. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires 
that the FAA consider the impact of paperwork and other information 
collection burdens imposed on the public. The FAA has determined that 
there is no new requirement for information collection associated with 
this immediately adopted final rule.

F. International Compatibility and Cooperation

    In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on 
International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to conform to 
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and 
Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA has 
reviewed the corresponding ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices and 
has identified no differences with these proposed regulations.
    Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory 
Cooperation, promotes international regulatory cooperation to meet 
shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, 
environmental, and other issues and to reduce, eliminate, or prevent 
unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements. The FAA has 
analyzed this action under the policies and agency responsibilities of 
Executive Order 13609, and has determined that this action would have 
no effect on international regulatory cooperation.

G. Environmental Analysis

    FAA Order 1050.1E identifies FAA actions that are categorically 
excluded from preparation of an environmental

[[Page 22012]]

assessment or environmental impact statement under the National 
Environmental Policy Act in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. 
The FAA has determined this rulemaking action qualifies for the 
categorical exclusion identified in paragraph 312f and involves no 
extraordinary circumstances.

H. Regulations Affecting Intrastate Aviation in Alaska

    Section 1205 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 1996 (110 Stat. 
3213) requires the FAA, when modifying its regulations in a manner 
affecting intrastate aviation in Alaska, to consider the extent to 
which Alaska is not served by transportation modes other than aviation, 
and to establish appropriate regulatory distinctions. As discussed in 
the Helicopter Air Ambulance, Commercial Helicopter, and Part 91 
Helicopter Operations final rule which instituted the requirements 
being delayed by this action, the FAA finds that there is no need to 
make any regulatory distinctions in the provisions of this rule. See 79 
FR 9932, 9971-72.

V. Executive Order Determinations

A. Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    The FAA has analyzed this immediately adopted final rule under the 
principles and criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. The 
agency determined that this action will not have a substantial direct 
effect on the States, or the relationship between the Federal 
Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various levels of government, and, 
therefore, does not have Federalism implications.

B. Executive Order 13211, Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy 
Supply, Distribution, or Use

    The FAA analyzed this final rule with request for comments under 
Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations that 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (May 18, 
2001). The agency has determined that it is not a ``significant energy 
action'' under the executive order and it is not likely to have a 
significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of 
energy.

VI. How To Obtain Additional Information

A. Rulemaking Documents

    An electronic copy of a rulemaking document my be obtained by using 
the Internet--
    1. Search the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov);
    2. Visit the FAA's Regulations and Policies Web page at http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/ or
    3. Access the Government Printing Office's Web page at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/.
    Copies may also be obtained by sending a request (identified by 
notice, amendment, or docket number of this rulemaking) to the Federal 
Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM-1, 800 Independence 
Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267-9680.

B. Comments Submitted to the Docket

    Comments received may be viewed by going to http://www.regulations.gov and following the online instructions to search the 
docket number for this action. Anyone is able to search the electronic 
form of all comments received into any of the FAA's dockets by the name 
of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if 
submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.).

C. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 
1996 requires FAA to comply with small entity requests for information 
or advice about compliance with statutes and regulations within its 
jurisdiction. A small entity with questions regarding this document, 
may contact its local FAA official, or the person listed under the FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT heading at the beginning of the preamble. 
To find out more about SBREFA on the Internet, visit http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/sbre_act/.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Parts 91, 120, and 135

    Air taxis, Aircraft, Airmen, Aviation safety, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements.

The Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation 
Administration amends chapter I of title 14, Code of Federal 
Regulations as follows:

PART 135--OPERATING REQUIREMENTS: COMMUTER AND ON DEMAND OPERATIONS 
AND RULES GOVERNING PERSONS ON BOARD SUCH AIRCRAFT

0
1. The authority citation for part 135 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 41706, 40113, 44701-44702, 
44705, 44709, 44711-44713, 44715-44717, 44722, 44730, 45101-45105, 
Pub. L. 112-95, 126 Stat. 58 (49 U.S.C. 44730).


0
2. Amend Sec.  135.293 by removing the phrase ``After the next 
scheduled competency check after April 22, 2014'' from the beginning of 
paragraph (a)(9) and adding paragraph (h) to read as follows:


Sec.  135.293  Initial and recurrent pilot testing requirements.

* * * * *
    (h) Rotorcraft pilots must be tested on the subjects in paragraph 
(a)(9) of this section when taking a written or oral knowledge test 
after April 22, 2015. Rotorcraft pilots must be checked on the 
maneuvers and procedures in paragraph (c) of this section when taking a 
competency check after April 22, 2015.

    Issued under authority provided by 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 44701(a), 
and 44703 in Washington, DC, on April 15, 2014.
Michael G. Whitaker,
Deputy Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration.
[FR Doc. 2014-09034 Filed 4-17-14; 11:15 am]
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