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Do you believe helicopter safety is generally being addressed in the wrong way?


In my view, helicopter safety in the States is certainly viewed differently than in Europe, the U.K., Canada, and Australia mainly because the FAA and the NTSB have, in my opinion, a dysfunctional relationship. The NTSB makes recommendations and the FAA chooses which recommendations to adopt and which to ignore. That’s because the FAA has a dual mandate to both promote and regulate air commerce, so it must consider how any new rule would affect an operator’s bottom line.


Here’s an example: After 2008 became the most deadly year on record in HAA, the NTSB examined HAA accidents from 2000 to 2008. Its report concluded:


“One hundred twenty three accidents occurred, killing 104 people and seriously injuring 42. Pilot actions or omissions, in some capacity, were attributed as the probable cause in 60 of the 123 accidents.


Most of these 60 accidents might have been prevented had a second pilot and/ or an autopilot been present.”


The NTSB presented its findings to the FAA in 2009. When the FAA’s new rules finally came out four years later, there was no mention of a second pilot or an autopilot because it was deemed too expensive to leave the decision whether to install an autopilot up to each individual operator, which many of them have elected to do voluntarily.


Do you think you have a solution that’s been overlooked?


Yes. Having flown overseas operating under the Joint Aviation Regulations (JAR) or what has become the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), my solution to enhance flight safety in the States would be to adopt the EASA or Australian models which, I believe, are much more concerned with safety and less bottom-line oriented.


In 2013, I was in Australia giving two


safety talks at its air medical conference in Melbourne. It was announced that its HAA was considering adopting Part 121 airline standards because “The patient has no choice as to what level of safety they are willing to accept so we must deliver the highest level of safety as is humanly possible.”


Now, that is a philosophy I wish our regulators would adopt here in America.


Randy Mains is an author, public speaker, and an AMRM con- sultant who works in the he- licopter industry after a long career of aviation adventure. He currently serves


as chief


CRM/AMRM instructor for Oregon Aero.


He may be contacted at: info@randymains.com


rotorcraftpro.com


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