§ 135.168 – Emergency equipment: Overwater rotorcraft operations.

[Doc. No. FAA-2010-0982, 79 FR 9973, Feb. 21, 2014]

(a) Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following definitions apply—

Autorotational distance refers to the distance a rotorcraft can travel in autorotation as described by the manufacturer in the approved Rotorcraft Flight Manual.

Shoreline means that area of the land adjacent to the water of an ocean, sea, lake, pond, river, or tidal basin that is above the high-water mark at which a rotorcraft could be landed safely. This does not include land areas which are unsuitable for landing such as vertical cliffs or land intermittently under water.

(b) Required equipment. After April 24, 2017, except as provided for in paragraph (c), when authorized by the certificate holder's operations specifications, or when necessary only for takeoff or landing, no person may operate a rotorcraft beyond autorotational distance from the shoreline unless it carries:

(1) An approved life preserver equipped with an approved survivor locator light for each occupant of the rotorcraft. The life preserver must be worn by each occupant while the rotorcraft is beyond autorotational distance from the shoreline, except for a patient transported during a helicopter air ambulance operation, as defined in § 135.601(b)(1), when wearing a life preserver would be inadvisable for medical reasons; and

(2) An approved and installed 406 MHz emergency locator transmitter (ELT) with 121.5 MHz homing capability. Batteries used in ELTs must be maintained in accordance with the following—

(i) Non-rechargeable batteries must be replaced when the transmitter has been in use for more than 1 cumulative hour or when 50% of their useful lives have expired, as established by the transmitter manufacturer under its approval. The new expiration date for replacing the batteries must be legibly marked on the outside of the transmitter. The battery useful life requirements of this paragraph (b)(2) do not apply to batteries (such as water-activated batteries) that are essentially unaffected during probable storage intervals; or

(ii) Rechargeable batteries used in the transmitter must be recharged when the transmitter has been in use for more than 1 cumulative hour or when 50% of their useful-life-of-charge has expired, as established by the transmitter manufacturer under its approval. The new expiration date for recharging the batteries must be legibly marked on the outside of the transmitter. The battery useful-life-of-charge requirements of this paragraph (b)(2) do not apply to batteries (such as water-activated batteries) that are essentially unaffected during probable storage intervals.

(c) Maintenance. The equipment required by this section must be maintained in accordance with § 135.419.

(d) ELT standards. The ELT required by paragraph (b)(2) of this section must meet the requirements in:

(1) TSO-C126, TSO-C126a, or TSO-C126b; and

(2) Section 2 of either RTCA DO-204 or RTCA DO-204A, as specified by the TSO complied with in paragraph (d)(1) of this section.

(e) ELT alternative compliance. Operators with an ELT required by paragraph (b)(2) of this section, or an ELT with an approved deviation under § 21.618 of this chapter, are in compliance with this section.

(f) Incorporation by reference. The standards required in this section are incorporated by reference into this section with the approval of the Director of the Federal Register under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. To enforce any edition other than that specified in this section, the FAA must publish notice of change in the Federal Register and the material must be available to the public. All approved material is available for inspection at the FAA's Office of Rulemaking (ARM-1), 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591 (telephone (202) 267-9677) and from the sources indicated below. It is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call (202) 741-6030 or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.

(1) U.S. Department of Transportation, Subsequent Distribution Office, DOT Warehouse M30, Ardmore East Business Center, 3341 Q 75th Avenue, Landover, MD 20785; telephone (301) 322-5377. Copies are also available on the FAA's Web site. Use the following link and type the TSO number in the search box: http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgTSO.nsf/Frameset?OpenPage.

(i) TSO-C126, 406 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT), Dec. 23, 1992,

(ii) TSO-C126a, 406 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT), Dec. 17, 2008, and

(iii) TSO-C126b, 406 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT), Nov. 26, 2012.

(2) RTCA, Inc., 1150 18th Street NW., Suite 910, Washington, DC 20036, telephone (202) 833-9339, and are also available on RTCA's Web site at http://www.rtca.org/onlinecart/index.cfm.

(i) RTCA DO-204, Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS) 406 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs), Sept. 29, 1989, and

(ii) RTCA DO-204A, Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS) 406 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT), Dec. 6, 2007.