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From the desk of the Editor

Tragedy in Tennessee

In the early morning hours of March 25, 2010 an air medical helicopter operated by Hos- pital Wing of Memphis, Tennessee crashed on the return trip to their base after completing a patient flight to Jackson General Hospital. Pilot Doug Phillips and Nurses Misty Brogdan and Cindy Parker died as a result of the crash. Our heart felt condolences go to the friends and family of this crew, as well as to Hospital Wing.

Unfortunately whenever a tragedy of this magnitude occurs a great deal of speculation im-

Ron Whitney Editor

mediately follows. Absent the facts, many “experts,” usually self-professed, chime in as to the “possible, or probable” causes of the accident and how it could have been prevented. Although there may be some validity to these opinions, or possible contributing factors, these matters are best left to the true experts, the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA. We must allow them to do what they do best and that is to find the true root cause of the accident. To jump to conclusions at this stage is not only un- professional, it is disrespectful. We should have the dignity to not participate in this type of “expert analysis.” If there is a true cause of this accident, rest assured, the NTSB and FAA will find it.

It is no great secret that the air medical industry has had a long run of unfortunate accidents and in- cidents over the past several years. The governmental agencies have held hearings, implemented changes to operation specifications, recommended equipment upgrades, and increased the level of oversight in an effort to eliminate these accidents. Whether these changes have had a positive impact on safety re- mains to be seen, the trend is not promising. Safe operations, in any industry, begin and end with the “operator” making sound decisions and exercising sound judgment.

Offshore Optimism

The Obama administration’s recent announcement that millions of new offshore acres will soon be available for exploration, drilling, and hopefully production did not catch many by surprise. The po- litical machine in our nation’s capital has been tossing this program around for decades, unsuccessfully. In fact, the major players in the oil and gas business have hedged their bets and have been conducting seismic studies of these new areas for quite some time. What does this new announcement mean for the rotorcraft industry. Well, that depends on a great many factors, not the least of which is exactly when the Department of the Interior actually conducts the lease auctions. Rumor has it that DOI has been di- rected to “get this done” soon. We’ll see. Regardless, any significant growth in our industry as a result of these new leases is still many years off.

Coming Soon

As our magazine, and now media group, grow so do our expectations of what we would like our pub- lication to look like. We are now in the final stages of a total redesign of Rotorcraft Professional Mag- azine and intend to launch our new “face” in our next issue. Please feel free to let us know what you think.

Best Regards,

Ron Whitney Managing Editor

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