NTSB has clarified that only fixed-wing aircraft are covered. Normal helicopter operations, wherever they take place, are not.

Helicopter Flights Exempt from Runway Incursion Reporting

The National Transportation Safety Board published corrections Tuesday to its rule to clarify that only fixed-wing aircraft operating at public-use airports on land must file reports of certain incursions.

Runway incursion reports don't have to be filed by helicopter operators, the National Transportation Safety Board clarified Tuesday when it published correcting amendments to its January 2010 final rule. NTSB said the rule's intent was that only fixed-wing aircraft operating at public-use airports on land must file reports of certain incursions. The rule became effective in March 2010.

This correction to 49 CFR Part 830 took effect immediately. The final rule added five reportable incidents, including this requirement for reporting runway incursions: "Any event in which an aircraft operated by an air carrier: (i) Lands or departs on a taxiway, incorrect runway, or other area not designed as a runway; or (ii) Experiences a runway incursion that requires the operator or the crew of another aircraft or vehicle to take immediate corrective action to avoid a collision."

Several organizations told NTSB this language might require aircraft taking off or landing at sites outside an airport to submit a report each time they take off or land, particularly for helicopters that land on an "other area not designed as a runway."

NTSB noted the preamble of the proposed rule stated NTSB did not intend to be notified of normal taxiway and off-airport rotorcraft takeoffs and landings, but it now has clarified that only fixed-wing aircraft are covered: not normal helicopter operations, wherever they take place, nor seaplanes, hot-air balloons, unmanned aircraft systems, or aircraft designed specifically for takeoffs and landings that do not occur at land airports.

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