The Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General (IG) this week will begin an audit of the FAA’s progress at reducing the fatal accident rate of helicopters operating as emergency medical service (HEMS) transports. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 required the FAA to take specific actions to reduce the HEMS accident rate, including short-term safety initiatives to promote the use of advanced technology, such as night vision equipment.
The FAA issued a notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) in 2009 to address the industry issues. That NPRM was a direct result of a series of eight fatal accidents in 2008 that took 29 lives. Since the issuance of the NPRM, no further action has been taken.
On April 12 this year Rick Larsen (D. Wash.), the ranking member of the aviation subcommittee of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, requested that the IG review the FAA’s progress in improving HEMS safety.
Questions about the audit should be directed to the IG’s Jeffrey Guzzetti at (202) 366-0500 or Tina Nysted at (404) 562-3770.