Following a number of recent helicopter accidents, Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) last month issued a notice of proposed rule-making aimed at improving the safety of helicopter external sling load and winching and rappelling operations. Winching and rappelling is generally associated with emergencies and, as a result, carries greater inherent risk than other helicopter operations, says the CASA. Such operations are also time-sensitive and are often conducted under challenging environmental conditions.
Latin America is the target of an effort by MD Helicopters to strengthen its dealer network, which consists of one independent representative per country, with the exception of Mexico, where there are two. The MD fleet in Latin America currently totals approximately 100 aircraft, 15 of them in Brazil.
“Our focus is to strengthen the dealer network and our goal is to be delivering 12 MD Explorers a year in Latin America by the end of 2015,” said MD director of sales and marketing Philip Marsteller. “And that’s a conservative goal,” he added.
Last month the Australian Transport Safety Board (ATSB) published its report of a Dec. 24, 2011, helicopter rescue that went wrong after the crew attempted to improvise in a mission to save a man where no other options appeared suitable.
Contrary to the hopes of most French helicopter EMS operators, French doctors have issued a motion calling for the soon-to-be-mandatory second flight crewmember to be a trained paramedic. New rules at the European level will mandate such a second crewmember, for some operations, beginning in October next year.
AFHSH, the French Association of doctors who use helicopter EMS, has proposed using trained paramedics to satisfy new European rules that will mandate a second crewmember for HEMS operations beginning in October next year. According to the association, the additional cost of a second pilot would be prohibitive for hospitals. Therefore, it proposes training a paramedic for those missions when a “second pair of eyes” is needed in the front seats, but only in VMC.
Canadian air ambulance operator Ornge, a not-for-profit organization, has introduced a new interior for its AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters that allows paramedics to perform CPR “at any time during flight, reduces the risk of tubes snagging on equipment and gives better access to the patient and medical bags and supplies.”
Ontario’s Legislative Assembly will continue its hearings over the summer into alleged performance failings and mismanagement at the Canadian province’s government-funded air-ambulance service known as “Ornge.” The hearings started on March 28 and, as of press time, it was unclear when Members of the Provincial Parliament (MPPs) would issue their final report into what appears to have gone badly wrong after Ontario’s Liberal Party-led government gave overall control of the service to privately owned Ornge.
FOCUS on…AIR MEDICAL The latest generation of air medical helicopters is meeting with enthusiasm from both pilots and medical crews. An example, at the AgustaWestland exhibit (Booth No. 5602) is the A109SP GrandNew medevac machine operated by Intermountain HealthCare’s Life Flight out of Salt Lake City.
In response to the rash of helicopter accidents experienced over the past few years by the medical transport industry, the National Emergency Medical Services Pilots Association (Nemspa) has rolled out a new safety/risk assessment plan known as the “No Pressure Initiative.”
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the partnership of MedAire (Booth No. 775) and Gulfstream Aerospace (Booth No. 275), through which the Phoenix-based MedAire has been providing Gulfstream operators with medical equipment, medical training and 24/7 access to MedAire’s hospital-based MedLink Global Response Center. Gulfstream includes the MedAire package with the purchase of each new Gulfstream aircraft.
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