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It helps to suppress those ever-present emotional demons that become the dri- ving force behind pressing onward into marginal conditions. It makes the deci- sion to alter the mission less stressful. EDP constitutes an easy to recognize trig- ger that can compensate, to a certain ex- tent, for complacency, lack of experience, or over-motivation. It does not require the lengthy mental processing of a detailed weather minimums table such as the one found in FAR 91 or OpSpec A021. The EDP trigger becomes part of the cross check which is an integral part of day-to- day flying. It is not a substitute for good weather planning or an excuse to know- ingly violate weather minimums, but is an alert for dealing with the tricks of Mother Nature and our perceptual limits in de- tecting and evaluating unexpected adverse weather. And since the need to use it is infrequent, there is added value in its sim- plicity and ease of recall.

Earl Jewkes, a veteran military pilot who has also accumulated 20 years as an EMS pilot and check airman at Inter- mountain Life Flight suggested the EDP criteria. The idea seemed valid from the beginning, and after an introductory pe- riod the 14 pilots comprising our rotor group fully endorsed the concept. Their comments on their personal experiences include:

• “It is a great interceptor for someone who might have the propensity to push on.”

• “It takes the hard decision out of my hands so I don’t feel the pressure as- sociated with turning back.”

• “If I can’t maintain the airspeed and altitude criteria it is just time to go home.”

In terms of Dr. James Reason’s familiar metaphor of the holes in our defenses lin- ing up like the holes in slices of Swiss cheese and allowing an accident to slip through, the EDP can be a very effective layer of protection against the threat of a CFIT accident.

Ed Freeman died of natural causes in Boise, Idaho on August 20, 2008 at the age of 80. He heroically survived those 14 trips into hell in the jungle of Viet Nam; but luck and courage do not always pair up so fortunately. Every professional pilot has, at some time or other, ventured into the minefield of marginal weather fly- • March 2010


ing. Sometimes it is unavoidable. But, the Medal of Honor in today’s air med- ical environment goes to the hero who ef- fectively utilizes all appropriate layers of protection before the holes in the slices line up and the flight becomes another sta- tistic in the NTSB database. Properly used, EDP can shift the odds significantly in your favor. ❚

Rex Orgill (NEMSPA memberID: 22096) is a commercial rated helicopter and multi-engine airplane pilot with over 12,000 of flying experience. He flies both the Augusta A109K2 and the Bell 407 for Intermountain Life Flight in Salt Lake City, Utah. Additional information on the EDP can be found at Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52
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