Several helicopter EMS accidents occurred over the last couple of months in the U.S.
Safety of emergency medical services flights
U.S.-registered business jets and turboprops experienced fewer nonfatal accidents in 2012 versus 2011, but N-numbered business jets incurred significantly more fatal accidents and fatalities last year than in 2011, recording the highest totals since 2008. Conversely, U.S.-registered turboprops incurred considerably fewer accidents and fatalities in the year-over-year comparison.
In a report released Thursday, the NTSB reported that no lives were lost in U.S. airline accidents in 2011. The total number of deaths in aviation did rise, however, with most of those occurring in general aviation, where the number grew to 491 in 2011 from 476 the year before.
The International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) released the first of its top 10 ideas for reducing helicopter accidents, on July 10. Number one is to develop and install flight data monitoring equipment to record the actions of the flight crew.
This morning the FAA announced its long-awaited notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding new equipment and operational and training requirements for the helicopter EMS industry.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued its 2010 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements last week, upgrading its assessment of the FAA’s action to improve the safety of emergency medical services (EMS) flights from red (unacceptable response) to yellow (acceptable response-progressing slowly).
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.”
The Air Charter Safety Foundation’s (ACSF) recently completed review of Part 135 incidents and accidents examines the safety record of the industry from 2004 to 2008. To compile the data, the foundation combed through the NTSB accident database and separated revenue flights from Part 91 events, including maintenance, ferry, positioning and instruction.
The Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) late last week released its first accident and incident review of the Part 135 on-demand air charter industry. According to ACSF, the new safety report takes a comprehensive look at the factors surrounding charter incidents and accidents between 2004 and last year.
The NTSB issued another set of recommendations regarding helicopter emergency medical service (EMS) operations, this time highlighting concerns with FAA oversight of public aircraft operators. These recommendations stem from a fatal accident on September 27 last year involving a Maryland State Police Eurocopter AS 365N1 operated as a public medical evacuation (see page 56).