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US EMS Crashes-2013

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US EMS Crashes-2013

Old 3rd Jan 2013, 18:17
  #21 (permalink)  
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I have had 2 power failures in flight in 45 years. The single came down like the proverbial brick, resulting in the conviction that a turbine at flight idle (in training) is a lot more help at the termination of an autorotation than I appreciated before. Touchdowns compared to a power recovery autos as the bullet snapping by your head versus your opponent hollering "Bang!". One takes the real thing much more seriously in planning.
Training comes with increasing cost as realism increases, so autos to the ground may not be as widespread as I wish. Me, I'd rather have my accidents in training at an airfield with aid available than in a remote cow pasture. The latter involves costs I'm not sure are being adequately weighted.
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Old 3rd Jan 2013, 20:39
  #22 (permalink)  
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Jack brings up a good point.

Those of us who have had the benefit of learning/flying Bell two bladed Hi-Inertia Rotor systems understand the difference between those and multi-bladed low inertia blade systems when it comes to doing autorotations. The transition is not an easy one to make. The Hi-enertia rotor systems are forgiving....where the low inertia systems demand proper application of techniques with scant room for error as compared to the Bell Rotor system.

Watching Pilots move on to the Hi-Enertia Bell systems from Gazelles and other EC products also showed the move to Bells could take some adjusting to their techniques....which some did with varying success depending their willingness to learn a different technique than what they had grown up with.

Odds are....take a long time Bell Pilot and put him into an EC or MBB product and then he encounter the need to do an autorotation for real....in the dark...might be asking a lot if you think he will get the aircraft down unharmed.

Old habits...old Monkey Skills are hard to erase and ensure the new skill is the one is used.
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Old 4th Jan 2013, 09:01
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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EC135 Precautionary Landing

January 4, 2013

Helicopter stalls on Main Street - TimesRepublican.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Community info - Times Republican

A portion of East Main Street near Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center was shut down Thursday afternoon when a medical helicopter malfunctioned on the road after landing to pick up a patient.

The air ambulance was unable to land at the hospital's regular landing area due to another helicopter already being there, so it had to land on Main Street.

It malfunctioned and was unable to take back off again, which led to the closing of a portion of the road.



Mercy Medical's 407 below -



The charred wreckage of Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa's Air-Med helicopter lays along the edge of an old fence line two miles northwest of Ventura, Iowa Thursday morning, Jan. 3, 2013. Authorities have identified two of three people who were killed when the medical helicopter crashed Wednesday night, Jan. 2, 2013; nurse Shelly Lair-Langenbau and paramedic Russell Piehl., both of Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa. The pilot was not identified. Witnesses told deputies that the helicopter burst into flames when it went down just north of Ventura in Cerro Gordo County.

Last edited by Anthony Supplebottom; 4th Jan 2013 at 09:13.
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Old 4th Jan 2013, 15:40
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Dreadful story from Iowa. Is HEMS crew member the most dangerous occupation in the USA? Time after time after time we're reading about much the same story.
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Old 4th Jan 2013, 16:03
  #25 (permalink)  
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Fog, Mist, 27 Degrees F, Northwest wind 10-15 kts....overcast....dark.....2700 hour pilot....

Officials look for answers in Iowa helicopter crash


In the list of equipment given by the CEO in the video.....no mention of Autopilot system....anyone know if Med Trans equips the 407 with any kind of Auto Pilot?

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/art...-northern-Iowa

Last edited by SASless; 4th Jan 2013 at 16:09.
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Old 4th Jan 2013, 17:09
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Grenville's North American EMS Statement

The American EMS fiasco is, in my opinion, a clear indictment of neglect upon the North American Federal Aviation Authority.

For American EMS operations to be safe the following needs to happen:

1) All single engine helicopter operations must be restricted to day VFR. In effect, single engine EMS helicopter operations should become "fair weather" day operations only.

2) For any other kind of operation a twin engine, two pilot, IFR-equipped helicopter must be used and operated within the constraints of Category A performances.

3) All IFR EMS pilots must complete a sensible monthly minimum of IFR flying hours (even if this means tasking more routine work at night, in poor weather or both).

4) Annually, every EMS pilot/copilot must attend a flight test with a neutral agency (ideally a specially commissioned non-profit EMS flight training and assessment academy).

Now why is this the FAA's burden? I'll tell you why. The medical industry (as it is in the States) are going to cut costs to the bone just as everyone does.

The aviation industry will try and respond as best as it can just as it always does.

The only supposedly dispassionate party in all this is supposed to be the FAA who, as the moment, are just sitting by watching one aircraft after the other plough into the ground. THEY ARE THE ONES who have to say "ENOUGH" and implement legislation which makes what I have written above (or something very similar to it) law.

The medical industry can decide what it likes and if it doesn't want to foot the bill for professionally managed twin engine operations then America doesn't deserve this service - it means North Americans for all their progress are unable to balance the equation of modern rotorcraft technology versus sensible medical insurance premiums.

Either way, the ONLY agency capable (supposedly) of cutting through the politics of the medical industry while at the same time protecting the operators is the FAA and its about time that our American cousins woke up to this disaster happening in their midst and did something about it.
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Old 4th Jan 2013, 17:29
  #27 (permalink)  
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I know of few FAA Inspectors I would care to take a check ride with....as very few have any real competency in Helicopter IFR or in the real world of Helicopter Aviation.

Even then....the annual checkride you suggest should be in the form of a no notice....show up on your door sort of ride. Just like an Alcohol or Drug Test....have the Check Pilot show up and administer the Check Ride and Oral Test. Let's see who is actually current, capable, and proficient....not just legally so.
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Old 4th Jan 2013, 17:48
  #28 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Grenville Fortescue View Post
The American EMS fiasco is, in my opinion, a clear indictment of neglect upon the North American Federal Aviation Authority.

For American EMS operations to be safe the following needs to happen:

1) All single engine helicopter operations must be restricted to day VFR. In effect, single engine EMS helicopter operations should become "fair weather" day operations only.

2) For any other kind of operation a twin engine, two pilot, IFR-equipped helicopter must be used and operated within the constraints of Category A performances.

3) All IFR EMS pilots must complete a sensible monthly minimum of IFR flying hours (even if this means tasking more routine work at night, in poor weather or both).

4) Annually, every EMS pilot/copilot must attend a flight test with a neutral agency (ideally a specially commissioned non-profit EMS flight training and assessment academy).

Now why is this the FAA's burden? I'll tell you why. The medical industry (as it is in the States) are going to cut costs to the bone just as everyone does.

The aviation industry will try and respond as best as it can just as it always does.

The only supposedly dispassionate party in all this is supposed to be the FAA who, as the moment, are just sitting by watching one aircraft after the other plough into the ground. THEY ARE THE ONES who have to say "ENOUGH" and implement legislation which makes what I have written above (or something very similar to it) law.

The medical industry can decide what it likes and if it doesn't want to foot the bill for professionally managed twin engine operations then America doesn't deserve this service - it means North Americans for all their progress are unable to balance the equation of modern rotorcraft technology versus sensible medical insurance premiums.

Either way, the ONLY agency capable (supposedly) of cutting through the politics of the medical industry while at the same time protecting the operators is the FAA and its about time that our American cousins woke up to this disaster happening in their midst and did something about it.

It is a well known fact "dark air has no lift" and we should act on that. This is a paraphrase of an excuse offered by an early aviator after a "prang". It wasn't the underlying issue then, and it's not now."


The answer isn't equipment. The resolution will involve increased and more effective training and a change in the professional culture. My personal issue in the 'culture' is the casual approach to scheduling night duty without scientific considerations of human physiology and psychology. But that's my own peculiarity in attempting to understand why good pilots do stupid things more often at night.

The answer isn't equipment, or even rules by themselves. I recently read an opinion of what makes the safety advantage of multi-engine IFR 2 pilot crews isn't what's on the line for dispatch, it's the management philosophy that will allocate the resources to that level of equipment, then has policy and training to minimize risk in use of it. The "equipment" is secondary to the underlying philosophy of managing risk by effectively using intellectual assets. An analogy- I know pilots who are safer in the simplest, least equipped single-engine helos than are pilots with all the bells and whistles. Why?
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Old 4th Jan 2013, 18:01
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Devil, you should perhaps advertise a seminar on the implications and neuro-physiological impact of EMS flight scheduling and CRM. Let me know how it goes.

In the meantime for other readers - please understand that there is NO comparison between the demands made upon a single pilot flying a single engine helicopter in IFR conditions conducting EMS work (restricted area landing/take off) and a twin engine, two pilot helicopter operation doing the same. In this case there is a world of difference in which equipment (and crew) is everything!

Training is a given, we are obviously talking about people who are capable in what they do (hence the earlier proficiency related comments).
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Old 4th Jan 2013, 19:13
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Don't quite understand, this looks like an EC130?
Ooops. That picture didn't show when I looked.
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Old 4th Jan 2013, 21:01
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Fog, Mist, 27 Degrees F, Northwest wind 10-15 kts....overcast....dark.....2700
hour pilot....

Officials look for answers in Iowa helicopter crash
Answers??

Add the reported patchy freezing precip from the article....I'd be willing to bet ice would feature prominently in the investigation. I can't believe I am the only one seeing this.

It would (or better could) explain not only the power loss but the ineffectiveness of the auto.

Devil 49: I agree on auto to TD trg. Insist on it. The whole point of trg on a particular a/c type is because they bahave differently, that includes the auto. Unpracticed skills deteriorate.

Grenville: I applaud your conviction but if your constraints were implemented today we would not only shut down most EMS operations in the world, but also offshore (among others). And even all Cat A, multi-crew, IFR operations would crash if that was all that changed.

The safest piece of equipment in an EMS helicopter is a crew who understands that it is not a 'mission', 'mercy flight', or 'heroic act'. It is a job! Our job is to safely operate the helicopter. If a layman thinks the result is amazing has nothing to do with it. Regardless of how it looks on the outside, in the cockpit it should be just another day at the office.

Example: http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/504...operation.html

Sometimes the right answer is NO! Even if that means someone WILL DIE. Anyone incapable of understanding this shouldn't be in the seat.

Even this won't stop every accident, but it will certainly be a start.

Last edited by pilot and apprentice; 4th Jan 2013 at 21:02. Reason: to add example
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Old 4th Jan 2013, 22:12
  #32 (permalink)  
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The safest piece of equipment in an EMS helicopter is a crew who understands that it is not a 'mission', 'mercy flight', or 'heroic act'. It is a job! Our job is to safely operate the helicopter.
Yes.....A Pilot that gets it!

Last edited by SASless; 4th Jan 2013 at 22:12.
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Old 5th Jan 2013, 01:44
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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The three 'T's of HEMS operations come to mind again.Technology, training and temperament.The first two obviously cost money.The FAA will always be reluctant to mandate anything to an operator due to it's dual mandate.
The last one is a little subjective but,here is my two cents worth:
Temperament includes the understanding, from the word go, that this is not about rescue or saving lives but about transportation.It includes cultural issues such as background and experience.Even today,I am amazed at how many people I meet who will say that they would never have flown in such- and- such scenarios and then proceed to tell me war stories of how they did just that and got away with it.The fact they don't get is that they were lucky not smarter or more skilled than the poor guy who lies dead in an Iowa cornfield.But they THINK they are.How do you train that out of a guy?
To me the big thing is the culture of an industry.The US HEMS world is going through the same growing pains the airline industry went through here in the 60s and 70s.Today , the airline world is a different industry altogether. Why ? Not because of the FAA or the airlines.Because of pilot groups like ALPA that demanded changes and got it.Hope we can get there someday.But, given the attitudes of helicopter pilots to collectively do anything over here,I am not holding my breath.
And, finally, you can throw all the bells and whistles into an aircraft but, as long as the average pilot here believes that anything that is not expressly forbidden is authorized (It is the other way around in the rest of the world) people will continue to die.How do you train that mindset out of a person? I asked Randy Mains that question.All I got was deafening silence.You see ,for all of Randy's new found enlightenment,the one thing he will never acknowledge is that folks like him and his generation are what created this monster.You just have to read his books to see that.
Now,everything we do or say or the FAA does is too little too late.That train left the station the moment the first single engine helicopter departed on an EMS flight in Colorado.
Alt3

Last edited by alouette3; 5th Jan 2013 at 01:49.
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Old 5th Jan 2013, 11:01
  #34 (permalink)  

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alouette3, good post.

Problem is that given a commercial incentive, when a sensible pilot says "No" with good reason, there's always another who will say "Yes!"

There are a lot of dead "Yes!" men but next time, in the heat of the moment, everyone often forgets that.

Knowing when to say "No" is often the most difficult thing about a job like EMS. Over the years I've worked for a number of pushy individuals or operators who think "Yes!" is the answer to everything, especially if it affects their own career path or their personal income. I've learned to keep reminding myself that such an operator can only take away my job and never to let them take away my licence or my life.
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Old 5th Jan 2013, 12:16
  #35 (permalink)  

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Interesting article in 4Rotors magazine Fall 2011 edition, very pertinent to ShyTqs post;
The incident is http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2011/AAR1104.pdf and the magazine summarises it nicely, the report itself is a very good read.

The article 'Fatal Chain of Human Errors' begins;
'Imagine you are a chief pilot and you decide to delay a SAR mission, and not to send out the only available two most junior pilots on a helicopter mission that you consider an extreme risk: high altitude, strong winds, intermittent snow, and zero illumination. It is not only a very wise decision, it is the only correct decision on the rotor community's way to reduce accidents.

But come next morning you get a call from the executive floor that you are relieved of all chief pilot responsibilities because of your decision to delay the SAR mission.

Some two years later
One of those two pilots now holds the job of that chief pilot. On June 9, 2009 ...

... Initially, the pilot decided not to fly because of the strong winds in the more than 11,000ft high mountain region. But only a few minutes later he changes his mind. Post accident interviews indicated that-during the decision making to launch the helicopter or not-several people had expressed their concern that the hiker would not be able to survive on the mountain overnight.'

Movingly, the dispatcher was the pilots wife and they were in contact all the time until the crash
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Old 5th Jan 2013, 13:10
  #36 (permalink)  
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I've learned to keep reminding myself that such an operator can only take away my job and never to let them take away my licence or my life.
Young folks pay heed to the wisdom in this statement!
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Old 5th Jan 2013, 13:12
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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I think I'll be the one on Prozac after reading that report from SilsoeSid.
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Old 5th Jan 2013, 13:43
  #38 (permalink)  
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It does show a Management attitude that begs punishment.....wonder how many Bureaucrats got the chop over it?

I have always argued good Police Pilots are Pilots first....Police Officers second.....and taking a Cop off the street...giving him some Pilot Training and turning him loose....is not the best way of doing things.

Yet...that seems to be the most common method.

The accident rates tend to bear that out too!

Last edited by SASless; 5th Jan 2013 at 13:45.
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Old 5th Jan 2013, 14:00
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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Swiss Cheese

If ever an accident report exemplified the holes in the Swiss cheese lining up, that was it. Thanks for providing the link SilsoeSid. Despite it being a police helicopter, it should be required reading for all HEMS and SAR personnel. Hopefully many will learn from it, both aviators and non-aviators.
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Old 5th Jan 2013, 17:40
  #40 (permalink)  

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Sid, thanks for posting that link. The accident report is one of the most comprehensive I've ever seen and there are a number of things that should be taken on board by every pilot, irrespective of the type of flying they do, be it professional or private.

So sad to think that the hiker was already bravely rescued by the pilot who then effectively wasted both of their lives by a basic mistake. That mistake was that having rescued the girl, he took off again in conditions that lay beyond his capabilities.

It can take big balls to be a seen as a hero but sometimes it takes bigger balls to say "No!". In fact, you can often say "Yes, but just wait a while!"

Unfortunately, management pressure (and one obvious individual in particular) played a large part in this accident. I've seen this a number of times before in my career and made myself very unpopular at times by resisting a flight where I knew it was unsafe to launch. But at least I'm still here.
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