Reps. Anthony Brown (D-Maryland) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania) have introduced the bipartisan Helicopter Data and Voice Recorder Requirement Act, which would require the installation of flight data and cockpit voice recorders in most U.S.-registered helicopters.
In a joint statement announcing the legislation earlier this month, the congressmen noted, “For nearly a decade, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has urged the FAA to address these gaps in helicopter safety. The helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant and eight others, as well as accidents across the country, have underscored the urgency for additional safety measures. From 2005 to 2017, the NTSB estimates there were 159 crashes involving helicopters with no recording equipment. Of the 159 incidents, the NTSB was unable to determine probable cause for 18 of those crashes.”
Brown is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, serving as both helicopter pilot flying OH-58s and JAG officer, during which time he graduated first in his flight class and received both airborne and air assault qualifications. He currently sits on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “Adding black boxes to helicopters raises accountability for pilots and allows investigators to give families closure in their time of need,” he said.