Howard Ragsdale, senior vice president of business development for Denver-based Air Methods and this year’s winner of the Airbus Helicopters Golden Hour Award, has spent most of his aviation career in air medical operations. Along with Archie Gray, senior vice president of aviation services, he is one of two long-time employees of Air Methods to receive an HAI Salute to Excellence Award this year. The “Golden Hour,” of course, refers to the period of time after a person has been severely injured during which, if given medical care, he or she has the greatest chance of survival.
Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems
Haiti Air Ambulance is partnering with Air Methods to bring helicopter EMS service to the poverty-stricken nation on a full-time basis for the first time. Beginning next month, two Air Methods Bell 407s–a primary and a dedicated back-up–will be based at a secure industrial park near the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince and will be gearing up to fly two missions a day or about 700 hours per year.
Wichita’s EagleMed could lose its accreditation after it suffered its third accident in the past three years, the Sandy Springs, S.C.-based Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) notified the company on June 13. The most recent crash occurred June 11 near the Choctaw Nation Health Care Center in Tulihina, Okla. A patient aboard the helicopter died after the accident, but details are still unclear as to whether the death was a direct result of the crash.
Boise, Idaho-based Aviation Specialties Unlimited has installed night-vision goggles in Reach Air Medical Services’ Agusta A109, Bell 407 and BO 105 fleet. Chief pilot Vicky Spediacci said that Reach, based at Santa Rosa, Calif., put its crews through an FAA-approved structured and specific training program provided by the equipment supplier.
Helicopter operators flying air medical operations have always had a keen interest in safety, but a spike in accident and fatality statistics in the last five years has intensified concern throughout the industry. Representatives from a number of helicopter EMS task forces gathered in Dallas recently to discuss procedures for improving the safety of their operations.