On January 25 the NTSB Office of Aviation Safety presented a special investigation report on EMS and helicopter EMS (HEMS) operations, attributing a number of EMS accidents to the safety deficiencies allegedly inherent in the less stringent Part 91 rules, which are in place when no patients or organs are on board. The agency invested 3,500 man hours investigating the 55 most recent accidents, 35 of which occurred without patients aboard.
News and information on safety procedures and concerns.
Hawker Beechcraft Super King Air 200, Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 11, 2007–The RioSur King Air air ambulance pilot reported a problem with an engine on takeoff from Bogota. The airplane crashed into buildings, killing the pilot, copilot, two doctors, a nurse and two people on the ground.
While corporate aviation has an enviable safety record, one comparable to that of the airlines, some flight departments operate on a shoestring budget with inadequately experienced or trained crews or shoddy maintenance practices, according to NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker.
Ask most professional pilots about either the USAir accident in Pittsburgh or the United Airlines crash in Colorado Springs, when the Boeing 737s flipped upside down before impact, and the discussion often focuses on whether it was wake turbulence, a roll cloud or a rudder hard-over that caused the crashes.
For business jets operating in potentially hostile areas, Sweden’s Saab might soon offer some protection. The company’s Avitronics division is hoping to receive EASA certification within the next eight months for its Civil Aircraft Missile Protection System (Camps). The company claims the defense system–based on countermeasures already in use on military aircraft–is the only such European system for civil aircraft.
The FAA released on November 8 a new fact sheet, “Safer Flying in Icing Conditions,” to warn operators that aircraft icing is a “continuing concern in all parts of aviation, from small airplanes to jumbo jets.” To combat icing-related accidents, the FAA is employing a multi-pronged approach to icing issues, using immediate safety actions and longer-term rule changes.
The NTSB on November 8 updated its “Most Wanted” list of 44 “critical” safety improvements and graded the FAA’s progress as “unacceptable” in all areas except that of fuel-air tank vapors.
The FAA said last month that it exceeded its goal for reducing the “most serious” runway incursions by 25 percent in FY07, which ended September 30. According to the agency, there were 24 serious runway incursions this past year out of more than 61 million operations, or one for every 2.545 million operations, exceeding the agency’s goal of no more than one incursion for every two million surface movements.
The FAA has issued a new Advisory Circular (91-79) that addresses runway overruns during landing. Overruns occur at the rate of about 10 incidents or accidents per year, and most can be attributed to non-adherence to standard operating procedures, according to FAA and NTSB statistics. AC 91-79 recommends that Part 91, 91 Subpart K, 125 and 135 operators incorporate the risk-mitigation strategies in their operations manuals.
For those toiling for oil on the roiling North Sea, the stormy nature of that piece of water keeps the possibility of rescue constantly in mind. Traditionally that role has been filled by stationing formidably equipped rescue boats called emergency response and rescue vessels (ERRV) with each group of oil platforms.