Helicopter tour safety legislation honors Madison mother and daughter who died in helicopter crash

photo of gannon family

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has introduced a helicopter tour safety act, which honors a Madison woman and her 13-year-old daughter.

Amy and Jocelyn Gannon died in a helicopter crash in Hawaii in December.

According to preliminary report from the NTSB, visibility at the time of the crash was low due to fog and rain.

The Amy and Jocelyn Gannon Helicopter Tour Safety Act calls for measures to ensure tour operators and pilots have the information and training necessary to make safer decisions while flying in areas that experience rapid-changing weather, according to a release.

“We must do more to prioritize passenger and pilot safety on helicopter tours and flights, especially in areas experiencing rapidly changing weather. This legislation, named in honor of Amy and Jocelyn Gannon, will address longstanding helicopter tour safety concerns that will keep folks safe in the air, and help save lives,” said Baldwin.

A release said, the legislation requires FAA to implement the following NTSB recommendations:

  • Initiate an Aviation Weather Camera Program in Hawaii that includes the installation and maintenance of aviation weather cameras at critical locations and establish public access to real-time imagery;
  • Install and maintain aviation weather cameras in mountain passes identified as being high risk and establish public access to real-time imagery;
  • Equip FAA flight service station specialists with technical capabilities and training to provide verbal preflight and en route briefings using aviation weather camera imagery;
  • Require all Part 135 operators to install flight data recording devices capable of supporting a flight data monitoring program; and
  • Require all Part 135 operators to establish a structured flight data monitoring program that reviews all available data sources to identify deviations from established norms and procedures and other potential safety issues
  • Review and approve flight routes used by commercial air tour operators;
  • Work with National Weather Service to develop and implement a process to evaluate flight routes, or segments of flight routes, susceptible to rapidly changing weather;
  • Establish training requirements for commercial air tour operators to utilize real-time weather information made available through the Aviation Weather Camera Program;
  • Require commercial air tour operators to use pilots who hold instrument ratings;
  • Study the feasibility of requiring helicopters used for commercial air tours to be better equipped; and
  • Study the feasibility of conducting audits of helicopter mounted videos for evidence of safe flying techniques and avoidance of dangerous terrain and rapidly changing weather events.

For more information on the bill, click here.