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Old 26th Jan 2006, 16:49
  #385 (permalink)  
tottigol
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tax-land.
Posts: 886
Both the FAA and the NTSB are still largely missing the point, and while proposing all EMS operations to be ruled by Part135 is one small step in the right direction, empowering dispatch officers with "aviation knowledge" shall only create a sharper divide between the medical and the aviation side of the operation.
The FAA and the NTSB, fail to acknowledge that the so called "Aeromedical" industry is a huge money maker, and that is not a real emergency service; those two factors, added to the fact that most medical "crews" are typically the "customer to be pleased" by the pilots as "company representative" pose the greater unrecognized hazard to this particular branch of the helicopter industry, at least considering the way "HEMS" operation are conducted in the USA.
Any pilot who has been flying in this industry for at least five years has been second guessed more than once with regards to weather conditions necessary for dispatch and recovery (and if they say no, they are lying to themselves).
NVGs systems, EGPWS, Radar Altimetres are only palliatives and do not make up for a system that should allow for UNBIASED and UNCHECKED go/no go decisions by the flight crew; just imagine you are flying a US Pt.135 twin engine commuter and weather at your destination is below mins for the flight, yet your flight attendant or better yet one of your PASSENGERS wants to go regardless, becuse otherwise the "other" fly-by-night Airlines would garner more recognition and market share; what would you as a pilot do? You would say no, and if they insisted you'd probably notify the federal Authorities about this individual, right?
Imagine now that the same individual OWNS the airline you are flying for and that he/she threatens you with termination if you do not make that flight, forcing you to uproot your family and move to another city to find work. How would you go about it?
THAT is the nature of the beast and THAT is the problem that both the FAA and NTSB fail to recognize (partly because is out of their jurisdiction).
A way around this are FDRs and CVRs, another way around this would be increase the disciplinary capabilities of pilots, by actually creating a program that "de facto" renders medical passengers as crew members thus subject to disciplinary action by the pilot.
One more thing is for the FAA to be forthcoming with the development of a much more complete network of ASOS/AWOS3 or whatever the next generation of Automated WX reporting stations will be, to allow for precision WAAS supported GPS approaches even into locations lacking an airport, but that would be useful to serve one or more rural USA community.
With the current proposed rulemaking or these determinations that are still shy of it, the FAA is demonstrating a refusal to tackle the issue in its own half (a European Football term) and are just attempting to cure the simptoms rather than the cause (a medical term).
tottigol is offline