The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently approved a new flight helmet standard for use by pilots of Air Tractor® models AT-504, AT-602, AT-802, and AT-802A. This standard was developed by the US Department of the Interior (DOI) Office of Aviation Services (OAS) and supported by the US Forest Service (USFS). The new DOI/USFS Aviation Helmets Standard is approved by the FAA for use in these aircraft models in addition to the Mil-Spec and DOT helmets that were previously approved. While a helmet is not required by the FAA for other Air Tractor models, Air Tractor strongly recommends that pilots of all its aircraft wear an appropriate flight helmet, including helmets tested to the new DOI/USFS standard.
In 2017, the OAS determined that while Mil-Spec and DOT aviation helmet specification standards have existed for some time, no government regulatory agencies had provided a civilian aviation helmet specification standard. The OAS subsequently engaged the Southwest Research Institute to develop a standard that would allow non-military approved helmets to be considered for use in US firefighting aircraft. The new DOI/USFS Aviation Helmets Standard is directly applicable to pilots operating firefighting and agricultural aircraft.
In July, Air Tractor received final approval from the FAA to have DOI/USFS helmets approved for use in its aircraft. Mil-Spec and DOT approved helmets remain approved for use in Air Tractor airplanes. “A quality flight helmet should be part of every Air Tractor pilot’s safety equipment,” says Air Tractor President Jim Hirsch. “We’re pleased that this approval provides additional choices for pilots.”
For a list of aviation helmet manufacturers producing helmets that meet the DOI/USFS Aviation Helmets Standard, go to: https://www.doi.gov/aviation/safety/helmet
Operators of Air Tractor AT-504, AT-602, AT-802 and AT-802A aircraft are required to install a new placard in their airplane and update the AFM pages to reflect the DOI/USFS Aviation Helmets Standard. Contact an Air Tractor dealer to receive these materials.