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After reviewing the new FAA rules unveiled this past February, I can’t help thinking the agency missed a golden opportunity to include a rule that would have significantly reduced the appalling accident rate seen over the past 35 years in our helicopter air ambulance industry

It appears the Australians put a higher value on patient safety than our FAA, NTSB and even Congress.  That’s a pretty strong statement, isn’t it?  Let me tell you how I arrived at that conclusion.

When my article “The Power of CRM” appeared in the August 2013 issue of Rotorcraft Pro my wife, Kaye, and I were in Australia, flown there by the Aeromedical Society of Australasia so that I could deliver two keynote speeches at their 25th scientific meeting of HEMS operators. 

My first keynote address was entitled “US Aeromedical Accidents – What can Australasian HEMS learn from our Mistakes?”  On the second day I delivered a keynote address entitled “CRM in Aeromedical Operations - Why CRM/AMRM (Air Medical Resource Management) is Absolutely Vital to HEMS Safety.” 

Helicopter Emergency Medical Services And Weather Related Accidents

by Bryan Butler

Many organizations are looking at ways to help make the Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) safer.  The FAA is working with FAR Part 135 Operators along with Organization such as HAI, CAAMS and AAMT to bring in voluntary solutions.  One simple solution to help alleviate many of the night HEMS Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) accidents is by changing the night VFR visibility minimums for FAR Part 135 HEMS Operations.  But what should they be changed to?  To help determine that answer let us first look at the root cause of many of our fatal HEMS accidents since January 2000.

Aviation Specialties Unlimited
Night Vision – Business Vision
Article, Photos & Video by Lyn Burks

Helicopter flight training wearing Night Vision Goggles (NVG) is as exciting and interesting as any other new skill or technique that can be learned in a helicopter.  It’s right up there with learning touchdown autorotations!  The one and only buzzkill is that, as the name of the device suggests, you must be using them at night.  It’s all fun and games --- until your flight-training block is from 0200 – 0400.

Helicopter Pilot Insurance Coverage Trends
By Rick Lindsey

Helicopter accidents can result in property damage, death or catastrophic injuries.  When things go wrong, there is usually plenty of blame to go around.  Read the headlines today and you’ll see that millions of dollars have been awarded in liability lawsuits. 

Helicopter pilots are trained, highly skilled, cautious and careful professionals who understand the importance of being proactive by double-checking all systems, safety checks, and other factors when piloting a helicopter.  A pilot must be prepared to be thrust into a dangerous or unexpected situation at any moment and have the skills to react quickly.

The President of HAI (Helicopter Association International), Matt Zuccaro,  is calling on industry to take action on an aviation provision that has snuck its way into a highway funding bill (S.1813) currently being negotiated by members of the House of Representatives and Senate that threatens both access to airspace and air safety.

When Rotorcraft Professional asked me to write a piece on how regulation influenced the simulator marketplace, I truly believed that it would be a relatively straightforward task. However, as I began to review the history, I found there was virtually nothing written until the 1960’s.

Advancements in technology and material make modern simulators more realistic and effective than ever. Regulating this new generation of synthetic training devices has also taken the first steps in keeping up with the changes. This article details some of the technology advancements in simulation and looks at the future of simulators as well.

By Hunter Old - Once upon a time, you bought and registered an aircraft and it was registered for good as long as you continued to operate it.  However, the days of a permanent registration for all aircraft are gone, causing a new headache for corporate flight departments everywhere.  Under new FAA rules that took effect last fall, for all aircraft (including helicopters) that were registered before October 1, 2010, the registration expires according a table of rolling dates based on the month the current registration was issued.  For example, if your current aircraft registration was issued between March and July of any year, its registration expires some time in 2011.  Once re-registered, each aircraft registration then will have to be renewed every three years.

By Bill Winn - The sound of thunder on the near horizon can herald hope or fear, depending on whether you are a drought-stricken farmer or a Golden Retriever with a serious phobia of both the boom and flash of lightening. My dog Max literally climbs into bed between me and Joyce during every thunderstorm, and lies there shivering uncontrollably until the storm has passed. It's like having one of those vibrating beds you find in cheap motels.

After analyzing data on accidents within commercial aviation over a 10-year period, the Federal Aviation Administration published a new rule in January of this year that requires all Part 135 operators employing more than one pilot to install Crew Resource Management training.  The final rule gives commercial operators until March 22, 2013 to establish CRM programs for both initial and recurrent training, and to have those programs approved.  After that period, certificate holders conducting Part 135 operations will be prohibited from using a crewmember unless that person has completed the certificate holder’s initial CRM training.

This is a preliminary report of a survey completed by 568 active helicopter EMS pilots in September and October of 2010. The solicitation to pilots to participate in this survey included the following introductory statement:

The Federal Aviation Administration announced on Oct 7, 2010, via a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), sweeping new equipment and regulation changes in an effort to enhance the safety of all helicopter operations.  While this action has been expected for many months, there will no doubt be a great deal of debate and political wrangling before any changes are actually put into place.

The Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) is the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) plan to modernize the National Airspace System (NAS) through 2025. Through NextGen, the FAA is addressing the impact of air traffic growth by increasing NAS capacity and efficiency while simultaneously improving safety, reducing environmental impacts, and increasing user access to the NAS. To achieve its NextGen goals, the FAA is implementing new Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) routes and procedures that leverage emerging technologies and aircraft navigation capabilities.


Recommended Altitudes
Except on the Meadowland Route, helicopters are requested to use at least 1000 feet MSL as long as possible for arrival and as soon as possible for departures. Helicopters using the Meadowlands Route should maintain 500 feet MSL and 1000 MSL when advised by Air Traffic Control.

Renters Insurance by Jon Keller


I cannot find an insurance company that sells non-owner helicopter coverage. How can I protect myself when renting a helicopter or flying someone else’s helicopter?

Will the FAA still issue a Private Pilot certificate based on a foreign pilot’s previous experience? by Randy Rowles

The answer is… well that depends! In the past, the FAA would issue a Private Pilot certificate on the spot if a foreign pilot made application at the local FSDO. In July of 2002 the FAA instituted a program that changes FAR 61.75. The FAA plans to verify all foreign pilot certification prior to issuing or allowing any certification actions, i.e. a practical test, etc based on that certification.



Instrument Instruction Required for the Commercial Helicopter Pilot Certificate by Randy Rowles

Can the Instrument Instruction required for the Commercial Pilot Helicopter certificate by given by a CFI that DOES NOT hold an Instrument Rating on their CFI certificate?


IA - Initial Attack! by Ken Carlton

I.A. means initial attack, that’s what I do with a helicopter. The Viet Nam Vets who are honest will tell you that they miss the adrenaline rush they got from flying helicopters. There is something about being shot at and missed that has a way of focusing your attention. Flying the helicopter well under combat conditions is the very best part of flying...if you can't do that then there's I.A.

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