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Randy


their frustration at politics that hampered creating meaningful rules to save lives. Good, well-meaning, hardworking people working in the FAA know the problems we in HEMS face. They have told me they would like to do more, but lack the power to do so because of the nature of the lumbering beast they work under.


Here’s a good example of how the agency hesitates to act. The FAA manager of general aviation attending the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh air show in Wisconsin this past August was interviewed on camera by a reporter from station KUSI. When asked when he thought the FAA was going to do something to “fix” fuel systems that aren’t crashworthy (reportedly in over 5,000 helicopters currently flying) the general manager replied, “I was at a point where I would not fly in a helicopter that didn’t have the (fuel system) upgrades. Industry can stop producing aircraft that don’t have crashworthy fuel tanks. Helicopter


manufacturers need to shoulder much, if not all, of the responsibility. We (the FAA) try not to hamper growth.”


By inference, the FAA won’t act to fix a known problem, even one as deadly as faulty fuel systems that have incinerated survivors in otherwise survivable crashes, because to fix the problem would hamper growth in the industry. By their inaction, the FAA is in effect putting a value on human life.


Sully’s recent experience with FAA inaction, in parallel with our experiences in HEMS over the years, is an indication that our system is in need of serious revamping. Anyone on the street will tell you that air safety must be paramount, no matter how it affects the bottom line. As Sully points out, your life and my life depend on it.


Mains is an author,


public speaker, and an AMRM consultant who works in the helicopter industry after a long career of aviation adventure. He currently serves as chief CRM/AMRM instructor for Oregon Aero.


He may be contacted at: randym@oregonaero.com


rotorcraftpro.com


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