The NTSB has issued another set of recommendations regarding helicopter emergency medical service (EMS) operations, this time highlighting concerns with FAA oversight of public aircraft operators. The recommendations stem from an accident on September 27 last year involving a Maryland State Police Eurocopter AS 365N1 operated as a public medical evacuation.
The reformed European Helicopter Association–operating under the acronym newEHA–publicly touched down for the first time at the 2009 Helitech show at Duxford, UK, albeit having had to adopt a slightly revised flight plan. At the 11th hour, the European HEMS and Air Ambulance Committee (EHAC) opted not to merge with newEHA.
Responding to a sharp increase in fatal helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) operations in 2008, the NTSB on September 1 issued 19 safety recommendations to the FAA, two other federal agencies and 40 government-operated public HEMS operators.
On Tuesday, the NTSB issued 19 recommendations for helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS), addressing pilot training; safety management systems; collection and analysis of flight, weather and safety data; flight data monitoring; development of a low-altitude airspace infrastructure; and the use of dual pilots, autopilots and night vision goggles.
An exemption that allows helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) operators to conduct Part 135 EMS departures under IFR rules in VFR conditions and in the absence of approved weather-reporting sources has been extended to Sept. 30, 2011. To qualify to fly under Exemption 6175, an operator must be a member of both the Helicopter Association International and the Association of Air Medical Services.
Comprehensive changes for the helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) industry are contained in the U.S. Senate’s proposed FAA authorization legislation. Under the bill, HEMS operators would be required to comply with Part 135 for all flights; however, destination weather reporting would apply only after the FAA determined that reliable and portable technology was available.
While the FAA develops new rules to improve the safety of helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS), the ranking Republicans on the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee and its aviation subcommittee called for congressional action.
Yesterday the House subcommittee on aviation held a hearing on helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) safety. The hearing sought to address the high accident rate, which resulted in 13 accidents and 35 fatalities in HEMS operations between December 2007 and October 2008.
At the conclusion of three-and-a-half days of NTSB public hearings on the safety of helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) operations early last month, Board member Robert Sumwalt summed up what several witnesses had already conceded, “There is no single magic bullet.”
Swiss interiors designer Aerolite has delivered a fourth AW139 EMS helicopter to Norwegian air ambulance operator Lufttransport. The interior includes a stretcher for single- and dual-patient configuration and four “ergonomically placed” swiveling and tracking seats. If necessary, the operator can change the configuration to a 12-seat utility design.