Congress Calls for Safer Emergency Helicopters

Three recent crashes of medical helicopters have heightened concerns in the emergency response community. In 2008 there were 29 deaths in medical helicopter crashes, many involving experienced pilots.

In an article on the Dallas News website, Eric Torbenson says Congress intends to pass a series of new rules governing medical helicopters in the U.S. fleet. He lists several possible causes for the crashes, including ongoing pressures on pilots, bad weather (especially at night), and inadequate equipment.

The Federal Aviation Administration enforces safety by requiring training programs related to operators’ licensing certificates. But a pending bill in the U.S. Senate could eventually mandate new on-board equipment, better ground-based weather detecting and improved safety programs, Torbenson writes.

The Air Medical Operators Association supports the bill and wants to work with regulators.

“We’re trying to identify inefficiencies in this system,” said Christopher Eastlee of the Air Medical Operators Association.

To read the Dallas News article, please click here:
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/stories/DN-helicoptersafety_22bus.ART0.State.Edition1.3c966d4.html