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BY ED MACDONALD


The Morning After It was a morning like no other. Key mem-


bers of the management team sat around the con- ference table with bleary red eyes and a demeanor which reflected their shared loss and pain from the night before. Self-doubt and a sense of their own human frailty permeated each team member down to the core. What could have prevented this tragic event? Why didn’t they see it coming? This gray cool drizzly morning would be the beginning volley in a long and eventually fruitful period of introspection and soul searching for the management team. The pain on the faces of the team members was palatable but would eventual- ly lead to a stronger and safer organization---the hard way.


It begged the question of “what signs did we miss”? Was this a case of misdirected ROTORCRAFTPROFESSIONAL


management, poor training, carelessness, equip- ment, culture, or just blind fate?


The NTSB


would be arriving mid-afternoon and would begin the tedious process of putting the chain of bro- ken pieces together.


The painful calls had been


made to next-of-kin and team members. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house and a huge piece of them was now missing. No one at the table wanted to make those calls ever again. No one in the room would ever look at the air ambulance business and operations in the same light. Flight crew members and family were gathering in the ready room trying their best to console each other. The press corps was trying their best to corner anyone who knew anything about the event. The Communications Center was closing the book on


38


the last elements of the Post Accident Plan. Communications specialists were


introspectively


trying to figure out “why”. Let’s flash back to days or weeks prior to this tragic and preventable event and look at each discipline a little more closely:


MANAGEMENT: The program director and business managers


had been very concerned that flight volumes were way down and felt somehow that the crews were contributing through poor or apathetic interaction with a few hospitals and the pilots should be a bit more


aggressive taking flights that competitor was grabbing from them.


the nearby She had


been to some of the safety courses at the Air Medical conferences but really felt as though


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