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HANGAR TALK

every opportunity to learn, practice, men- tor, and contribute to the safe operation of this wonderful industry we work in. Strive to be a true aviation professional. 2. Acknowledge every instance you find yourself feeling rushed and be will- ing to make the unpopular decisions to delay, cancel or abort any mission when you find your focus is lost or you are not operating at 100%. Everyone must be on the same page and respect the task at hand. Communicate before, during and after a flight. 3. Utilize all technological advance- ments available, but remember that they don’t always work, and should never be relied on. That crop duster that just cut in front of you will not set off your TCAS since they generally don’t carry transpon- ders. Work on your scan. See and Avoid! 4. Engage your crews, they are a re- source and might one day help you fol- low Rule #1. Use the empty legs to propose scenarios and get them to engage and take a position. I sometimes verbally beat up my medical crew because they answer questions with “ I’d probably…” “ I think I’d…” “I might…” and various other non-committal language when I put them in scenarios that are potentially un- safe. I force them to take an active role. It is to every ones benefit and will make them more effective team members in the future. The life they save on duty that day might be yours. 5. Don’t ever allow ‘get home-itis’ to play a part in decisions. Fight this urge! Many times I’ve read reports of aircraft with chip lights or other mechanical dis- crepancies flying past approved landing areas because home base was only a few miles further, or shift change was near. Unfortunately every time someone gets away with something like that it makes them more bold and brazen the next time. No one likes to get stuck somewhere or to have to ground transport or spend the night away from base/home, but the al- ternative is far less appealing. 6. Respect the weather! Our program is an active SPIFR program and we uti- lize that capability regularly. I can tell you that to be proficient, you must regu- larly practice. In my opinion, a semi-an- nual check ride with Foggles simulating IMC and getting out of IIMC is not suffi- cient to give you the necessary skills to safely control a helicopter without visual

12 ROTORCRAFT PROFESSIONAL • August 2009

references. Stay out of and away from weather you and your aircraft are not rated for! Be willing to swallow your pride and put it down safely in a field ver- sus pushing on in hopes of improving conditions. Live to fly another day. Take pride and ego out of the equation. 7. Don’t allow patient information or condition to enter in to your decision. Best intentions don’t always serve the greater good. 8. Create and administer procedures to deal with fatigue. The best day-sleep sel- dom regenerates like a good nights rest. Night work requires day sleep and studies show that due to circadian factors day sleep is significantly shortened and often disrupted. Night work can result in acute sleep loss, creation of sleep debt and cir- cadian disruption. Sleep is the most im- portant factor to promote performance, alertness and safety (Mark R.Rosekind Ph.D. Managing Fatigue in EMS Opera- tions). This is an area that needs to be ac- knowledged at the highest levels of every flight program and receive full support down the line. No one should fear reper- cussions for pulling the safety card from time to time and rejecting a flight because of fatigue. 9. Management must do more. Often the safety training conducted at the ad- ministrative levels doesn’t filter down the line where it has the greatest potential for the good. Often a two-tier system of safety is present, and the information that needs to get to the folks in the aircraft trickles out of the corporate office. In this day of text messaging, e-mail and pagers, dissemination of information should be nearly instantaneous.

Flight Safety International has a motto of sorts: “The Best Safety Device In Any Aircraft Is a Well-Trained Crew.” My challenge to everyone is that on any given shift, do everything in your power to make

certain yours is a ‘Well Trained Crew.’ ❚

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