6 Nov 2015

Training tightened on helicopters after crashes

6:44 pm on 6 November 2015

Pilots of Robinson helicopters will have to double their solo flying hours under new rules from the Civil Aviation Authority.

A Robinson R44 helicopter

A Robinson R44 helicopter Photo: 123RF

The authority launched a review of the helicopters after a number of accidents involving them, including a crash in 2011 when two people died near Mt Aspiring during a training flight.

From July next year, Robinson R22 and R44 helicopter pilots will have to do a minimum of 20 hours and some pilots will be required to complete safety courses every two years.

Commission director Graeme Harris said the new rules would help prevent accidents and bring New Zealand up to speed with US requirements.

"The aircraft have particular handling characteristics and pilots have to be very careful in their operations to avoid turbulence and certain flight parameters.

"This additional training is to make sure they really are aware of those parameters."

Robinson helicopters are an American product, and are the most commonly used light helicopter in New Zealand.

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