Three Eurocopter AS 322 Super Pumas, which Bristow Helicopters (Booth No. 1835) operates from Aberdeen, Scotland, to offshore installations in the North Sea, now carry TCAS II traffic collision avoidance systems, and the operator expects to similarly equip its entire Super Puma fleet by 2010. Bristow announced on Friday that it has designated the Sikorsky S-92 as its next type for TCAS II certification.
News and information on safety procedures and concerns.
A trio of helicopter trade associations are recommending that the FAA mandate night-vision goggles, enhanced-vision systems or IFR-only operations for all night flights of EMS helicopters. The recommendations overlap many key advisories made by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in 2006.
Max-Viz, the Portland, Ore. designer and manufacturer of infrared enhanced-vision systems (EVS) for airborne applications, is at Heli-Expo 2009 with two new systems and information on emerging use of EVS to boost the safety of EMS operations. The FAA, NTSB and the EMS industry are evaluating EVS as a candidate technology for improving EMS night operation safety.
Dec. 3, 2007–Eurocopter BK 117C1 operated by Evergreen Alaska Helicopters crashes into the ocean on a VFR flight in IMC near Whittier, Alaska, killing all four aboard.
One week before the crash, an EMT complained to hospital management that the program’s pilots were overworked and that, “losing pilots to burn out is the best-case scenario.”
Choices that air medical operators will make about investing limited resources in safety equipment are price-sensitive. For this reason, enhanced-vision systems without night-vision goggles’ expensive recurrent training requirements may be seen as a more viable alternative by many EMS operators. However, in addition to choosing NVG or EVS, some HEMS operators are flying with both.
After news broke last week of the Transportation Security Administration’s unauthorized inspections of Nashville (Tenn.) Airport pilots and employees and their baggage, concern about the TSA’s plans for random screening at FBOs has grown. A TSA document called the Playbook apparently outlines the procedures for random screenings at general aviation facilities, and NBAA has expressed concerns about planned Playbook-related actions.
Prosecutors in Brazil are appealing the dropping of some accusations in the 2006 midair collision between a Gol Airlines Boeing 737-800 and an ExcelAire Embraer Legacy 600. The airliner crashed into the Amazon forest, killing all 154 aboard, while the business jet made an emergency landing at an Air Force base.
On Tuesday, the NTSB issued a recommendation urging the FAA to monitor more closely the communication contingency plans of all Gulf operators following natural disasters. The move was prompted by the crash of a Houston Helicopters (HHI) Sikorsky S-76A in the Gulf of Mexico on Sept. 6, 2005. The helicopter crashed 24 miles offshore a week after Hurricane Katrina knocked out most cell towers in the area and HHI’s communications network.
Five executives and a pilot associated with now-defunct Platinum Jet Management have been charged in connection with the 2005 crash of a Challenger 600 following an aborted takeoff at Teterboro (N.J.) Airport. Arrested yesterday were Platinum Jet Management president Michael Brassington; his brother and vice president Paul Brassington; managing member Andrew Budhan; and director of maintenance Brien McKenzie.
Four days of NTSB public hearings on helicopter EMS safety began today in Washington, D.C., amid calls by the agency and the industry itself for reform. Last month, the NTSB determined the probable cause of four recent fatal helicopter EMS crashes. Three of the four involved inadvertent flight into night instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), while one was attributed to loss of control during low and slow flight.