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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MTyUvPSMQg

 

 

I worked with Randy and was present in Riyadh when the almost accident mentioned in the video happened. Having two pilots is what saved the flight from becomming a 4 person fatality.

 

I agree with what he has said and think it is time that mandated legislation was introduced requiring two crew, IFR, autopilot equiped aircraft is used everywhere in the United States after a certain date.

 

Thoughts?

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I believe that 2 pilot crews are the safest configuration possible. In that I agree with Mr Mains. I wish it were an economic possibility in the US HEMS industry, but it isn't, and never will be. The parties footing the bill are in a reactive, cost containment mind set, and those providing the transport have to deal with that reality or fail.

 

Regulation isn't the answer to the problem. Laws seem to provide the framework for minimal compliance. Look at how long it took to deploy NVGs broadly... Autopilots next!

I do think that a separate Part of the FARs is inevitable: 91 and 135 aren't doing it, no matter how you slice and dice it with A021, etc.

 

I don't find the "Nobody does night VFR except the US. The (international pilot) community thinks we're crazy." convincing. If that's a basis of the argument, it fails. Night VFR, even single pilot/single engine can and has been done safely.

Single anything at night can be very unforgiving- no critique of the plan, no alternate, no REAL IFR capability, no equipment redundancy, and the hole you've dug gets deep real fast.

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I am not involved in EMS for a living, but if this happened the way it is suggested, I think you would start seeing LE/Fire agencies partnering and filling in the gaps and getting into the business. Most state LE agencies and a number of Sheriffs Offices already do EMS.

Single engine operators that couldn't afford the transition from a 407 or a B3 to an EC135 would fold and leave holes in response areas. Im sure If we didn't have a local EMS operator already, my agency would do it. And guess what...... they would be doing it with single pilot, single engine helicopters.

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Money talks, and BS walks. In the US, short-term profit overrides everything. Bigger helicopters and two-pilot crews are expensive, and eat into the profits of the EMS companies, and of the insurance companies. It makes no difference whatever what is safer, just what is more profitable in the firsts place. If the government had the will, and the ability, to convince Congress to pass legislation for universal healthcare, then safety might be in the realm of possibility. It doesn't, and it isn't. Just look at the vitriol being thrown everywhere over the very modest increase in the government's responsibility with the Affordable Care Act. A large portion of our population, including especially those in charge of the corporations involved and about half of the politicians, don't care at all about safety, or the fact that people die unnecessarily. They just don't care about anything but the next quarter's profits. Nothing is going to change anytime soon. Nothing. Not until the profit motive stops being the overwhelming driving force. For now, a few fatal crashes now and then are just acceptable collateral damage, nothing to be concerned about. And the pilots, who should be the most concerned about the situation, will not stick together to change anything. They will climb all over each other just to get a job, paying far less than it should. People no longer look out for each other, just their own short-term interests, nevermind what would be better for them in the long run. That's why you see the cutting of teachers, firefighters, police, and other public programs. "I don't want my tax money being spent on anything for anyone else!" seems to be the common attitude. But Ben Franklin had it right. We hang together, or we hang separately. We just have to remember that, and we seem to have completely forgotten it. And the teahadists will go down fighting.

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As stated above, it's just not economically feasible. Twin engine IFR certfied aircraft simply cost too much to aquire and maintain. Our 407 operates on less than half of what the previous 412s that we used to operate. Two pilots? Well that means for a typical base you'll have eight pilots instead of four. No way any company wanting to make a decent profit is going to afford that.

 

The author also mentions about company pressure to fly. I have no company pressure to fly in marginal weather. Completely false. If anything I'll get in hot water for taking a mission with marginal weather. I've talked to friends in other companies and they said the same thing. He's mentioned before as well (not in video) about pilots are not made aware of other aircraft who turn down a mission. Not true again. My company is required by policy to inform me if any other company has already turned down a mission. Although I could really care less if they do. Just because if someone turns down a flight doesn't mean I will. They might simply be fogged in their area or the pilot or crew just might not be up to flying. Also my personal wx mins might be less or even greater than some other crews.

 

Reduction in accidents by 80%? Pure speculation. I'd guess 25% with dual pilot. You can point to plenty of dual pilot accidents in the military that are contributed to human error where the pilot off the controls didn't have time to correct the error of the pilot on the controls. Who knows, some dual pilot accidents could have been prevented if there was only one pilot to begin with.

 

A lot of his stats are pre-2009 as well. Things have changed since then and our accident rate has already shown a marked improvement. With the FAA's recommendations the aircraft for the most part are much better equipped today. My aircraft is glass with TAWS, TCAS/TIS, SVT, highway in the sky, obstruction alert, and of course we fly NVGs. The tools at my disposal are substantially better than what we had just a fews years ago. Sure an autopilot would be nice, but if an IFR rated pilot needs an autopilot to fly IMC, they shouldn't be instrument rated to begin with. Plenty of cases of aircraft accidents out there IMC with aircraft equipped with an autopilot as well. Just look at Cirrus for that.

 

When deciding a dual pilot platform it's all about the risk vs reward. I don't doubt that having two pilots up front would make for a safer platform. I just think the added safety benefit would be marginal at best. So can single pilot be done safely? Yep, plenty of examples out there. We have thousands of single engine piston driven/turbo prop GA aircraft operating safely by private pilots. How about fighter aircraft. Some say a second set of eyes makes for a better combat platform but yet our two newest (F-22,F-35) are single pilot. Two seats cost more and now you're paying for a second WSO. I've got a friend at Customs flying single pilot helos and fixed wing safely. Police flying single pilot with and observer up front. Tour operators flying over Hawaii and the Grand Canyon all the time single pilot. They've had some accidents so why don't they put two pilots up front?

 

In a perfect world we'd all fly EC-145s with two pilots and the crew would have plenty of room in the back. Shoot, it would be even safer to fly S-92s with two pilots and then put an observer between them to catch their mistakes. But, unfortunately we live in a world of fiscal restraints. Maybe someday we'll have aircraft flown completely by fault free computers and the pilot is only a computer monitor. Until then there will always be accidents whether they're single pilot or dual pilot.

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Nothing is going to change anytime soon. Nothing. Not until the profit motive stops being the overwhelming driving force.

 

Then with that, phasing out privately operated EMS and having it operated by the government is the only solution? Because we are experts at doing less with more!! :D

Even if single engine operators are phased out, companies that fly twin IFR helicopters arent going to fill the voids if there isnt any money to be made.

 

These EMS discussions are interesting because just about all of it applies to LE flying. Off site, stress, weather issues when people are yelling for help, demanding you respond, managers that are not pilots, guy on the ground complaining that we never fly if there is a single cloud on the horizon. Night, CFIT, NVG, public relations, dealing with other EMS organizations.

 

On the topic of Randy Mains, Ive researched who he is as far as background, etc. But until this video Ive never seen or heard of him. What makes him the "go to" guy for EMS more so than the EMS pilots I know who have thousands of hours and comparable backgrounds who dont agree? To suggest that we in the US are crazy compared to some European country because we fly night VFR? I would say it's the other way around. I fly single engine, single pilot NVG about 4 hours per night. I would suggest those over regulated European IFR pilots click off the MFD and disengage the auto pilot once in a while. Its not really that hard, unless your government choses to make rules that make you afraid of it.

 

Again... let me preface this by saying I don't know anything about the guy, but in police work we have a funny saying.

 

Q: What makes someone an expert?

A: The fact that they are from out of town and they brought their own Power Point presentation.

 

Does that mean the person teaching isnt an expert? Not at all. What it eludes to is that organizations often over look the expert sitting right next to them, but instead opt to pay a ton of money to bring someone in from the outside. I found that when I taught SWAT courses, many times the people sitting in the class are just as qualified, if not more qualified and some of them may having differing and very valid arguments . But they werent the one behind the mic.

 

I've just found it interesting when you have an industry where the groups aren't really connected in any way but yet one person choses to become the unofficial spokesperson for the industry. We have it in LE aviation as well. 99% of the time they are right on with their information. But sometimes people are sitting back asking each other "Who the heck is this guy? The stuff hes talking about doesnt even apply to my unit" Many times Ive found that it defaults to the person who has the time to do it. Playing devils advocate, I would be curious how many high time and experienced pilots walked out of that seminar shaking their heads in total disagreement. Or.....was everyone in complete agreement? I dont know.

 

Does EMS flying need to be the wild west? Not at all. People are critical of EMS making a profit and want to push for that legislated standard that is proposed in the video. Go for it. While the civilian crews are sitting in the unemployment line, state police, sheriff's and PD air units will be zipping around doing EMS single pilot NVG in the same B3s and 407s you all just sold off at a loss.

EMS always talks about financial profit. Who do you think will be pushing for this? Ummmm....oh I dunno, companies who have twin engine IFR helicopters who see a financial gain by moving into an area that was just vacated by the Bell 407 operation that was just shut down. If their cost analysis shows its not profitable, or cant at least pay for itself, they wont. So you cant legislate the profit aspect out of a civilian run business.

 

A service that doesn't make any money or operates at a loss is called the government!! The service will just go away, leading me right back to my other point...... time to get the Sheriff to set up our Huey with a DART stretcher package and an IV tree!

Edited by Flying Pig

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Randy started flying in Vietnam and won the first Golden Hour Award, given each year in recognition to a pilot who has contributed to the aero medical community. Something like 44 years flying and 13,000 + hours.

 

I only know his as a sim instructor when I worked for Abu Dhabi Aviation and was impressed by his skills, his knowledge and his humbleness in person (he is also an author of a few books about flying).

 

I think he's earned his right to speak with authority on the point of EMS aviation in the United States.

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I have flown EMS for 28 years and have worked as a consultant for a highly respected EMS consulting firm. Two engines and two pilots bring their own problems, and, in the end, two engines and/or two pilots provide no statistical safety advantage. Single and dual wash out as the same.

 

Further, given the conditions of night flights to unimproved landing sites, and given the number of takeoffs and landings per hour of flight, EMS operations have a much better safety record than most people realize.

 

if you want to make EMS safer, consider the following:

 

1. require out of ground effect hover capability during all phases of flight (makes the vertical EMS takeoff to 50' over obstacles and a steep climb to 500' agl on take off heading, possible);

 

2. require round trip fuel (allows the pilot to return to point of departure if weather starts getting bad, and precludes the need to push the weather to get to fuel);

 

3. require a simple autopilot capable of holding a heading and altitude (allows the pilot to review charts, tune radios, etc.);

 

4. raise the night cross country minimums to 3000' and five miles.

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Hey Aclark79! Long time……

 

IMO, Mr. Mains is a subject matter expert and he has a legitimate message. However, it appeared to me his message was being preached to the choir. That is, it, the majority of the audience seemed to be made up of flight crews. If this was the case, what was the intent of the message? Quit? Refuse to work for non-twin, non-2-pilot flight crew? I’ll simply ask; who was the message actually for?

 

In any case, something needs to be done and it appears Mr. Mains is simply attempting to get the discussion rolling. Unfortunately (and sadly), I don’t believe anyone of any significance is listening. Einstein said; “A problem cannot be solved by the one who created it”. In the EMS sector, the CEO’s, Board Chairmen’s, Board Members, Share Holders, Presidents, med-types and associated bean-counters are the ones making the decisions. These decisions are based purely on profitability and do not provide real world EMS mission context. No context means, no shared reality. With that, I think it’s safe to say more will die due to their greedy ignorance….

 

Take these titles, executive culture and power structure along with the accompanying profit out of the equation and things will definitely change for the better. In fact, I’d go out on a limb and say any EMS line pilot could do a far better job managing these operations than the status-quo. And, while we all hate to see the Feds step in, it may be time. For some, it’s too late……..

Edited by Spike

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Great lively back and forth in reaction to my speech. It's great to hear. It gets the dialogue going and that is a good thing.

 

Do I think it will ever come about that two-crew will ever be mandated or adopted by the HEMS community? Nope and for the reasons many of you have pointed out. It’s money. I am completely convinced that having two-crew (or at the very minimum installing an autopilot for a single pilot) would drastically reduce the HEMS accidents from what I have observed in my 44-year, 13,000-hour career, 28 of those years working with helicopter ATPs from nearly every corner of the globe.

 

Unfortunately you were only able to view the last seven minutes of my 50-minute speech albeit the most important part. If you would have seen the whole speech you would have a greater appreciation of where I am coming from.

 

I left HEMS flying in America after doing it for six years. When I began at Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas, there were only two hospital-based programs in America. There were six of us, all ex-Vietnam pilots manning three Alouette IIIs, flying 72-hour shifts eager to prove to a doubting public and skeptical medical community that the helicopter could save lives in peacetime as we knew it could in the battlefields of Korea and Vietnam.

 

When I left six years later I wrote a book entitled The Golden Hour for one purpose and one purpose only, to act as a bellwether, a wakeup call for an industry in crisis even back in 1985 when I left it. I wrote that book to highlight the attitudes and practices that were prevalent back then that if they were allowed to continue the result would be that more people would die. Sadly, my book has become prophetic, like looking into a crystal ball predicting events to come. Many of the HEMS pilots I speak to who have read the book say many of the same attitudes are still alive and prevalent today.

 

I left HEMS flying after spending five years in San Diego, California, hired to set up a country-wide HEMS program in the Sultanate of Oman as a uniformed Major flying for the Royal Oman Police. It was there my eyes were opened wide to another way of dong things. I witnessed a different paradigm a different (and much safer) way of doing things in the cockpit. In the States I was used to flying single-pilot IFR back in San Diego. When I went to Oman all 12 pilots there were ex-British forces trained in the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, Royal Marines plus me a token ‘Yank’. All the pilots were former North Sea pilots, too, used to flying in some of the most challenging weather one can imagine flying two-crew operations as they had been trained to do in the military. I had difficulty, at first, to relinquish control being used to single-pilot IFR taking everything on myself, but in the end I finally ‘got it’ and I have never looked back.

 

In my speech I said there is no reason to reinvent the wheel to stop the HEMS accidents in the States as there are programs outside of America who do it much more safely. In fact, the way we do it in the States would not be allowed in most countries. Now you may argue that flying at night VFR is safe, but you have to ask what is it that other countries know about it that we don’t if they don’t allow the practice to go on in their airspace.

 

I have watched in despair for more than a third of a century, yes, 33 years, the same HEMS accidents occurring over and over and over again until, on August 31st of 2010, I heard of yet another HEMS crash occur killing three more people, this one in Arkansas. I was in Abu Dhabi at the time, it was 10pm at night and I launched myself out the door enraged saying over and over to myself what can one man do to bring about change. What can I personally do to bring about change? I told myself during that 3-mile walk that I had to get on that stage at an AMTC AAMS conference and at least try to do something to stop the carnage. Remember, I have watched more than 350 people lose their lives in HEMS accidents over the years, leaving 600 crash survivors since I wrote The Golden Hour and for some reason that HEMS crash in Arkansas caused me to say, “Enough is enough.”

 

In the thread, one pilot mentioned that he doesn’t experience any pressure what so ever in the program where he works and that is great. I agree that there are a lot of very good programs out there that ‘get it’ and know they should never put pressure on a pilot. Saying that, it doesn’t mean a pilot cannot get himself in a jam and need some help and possibly use the help of a second pilot or the very least an autopilot. A good case in point is the most recent HEMS crash of a BK 117 in Illinois on December 11th. If a pilot with 23 years as an Army aviator, ex-Vietnam pilot with 19 years experience as a HEMS pilot can have a fatal crash with only four shifts to go until retirement, there is no pilot immune to it happening to them. No one. Having a second pilot can save the day. I have personally seen it several times in the cockpit and I have seen it many times in the Bell 412EP level D simulator I operate in Dubai training and examining the 20 nationalities of ATP pilots who work at Abu Dhabi Aviation.

 

I will also mention this: if I give an autopilot failure in IMC in the sim, it becomes an emergency and there are many pilots flying aircraft in marginal VFR in the States without an autopilot, a fact that nearly every pilot I talk to here I Abu Dhabi Aviation thinks is completely nuts.

 

It is obvious to me that by the very fact that you have contributed your thoughts to this topic that you all have a passionate view to share on the subject so how about turning that passion into action. See if you can make yourself heard. Who knows what you can accomplish if you try?

 

I appreciate every one of your comments. As Rick Sherlock, the retired two-star Army general and current CEO of AAMS told me at the AAMS conference in Seattle in October, where I was invited back this year to be a keynote speaker on CRM, “We need people like you, Randy, a guy who is not afraid to point out that the Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.”

 

Won’t you join me in sharing your safety views? Who knows what difference we can make?

 

I wish each and every one of you every success in your aviation career.

 

Randy Mains

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Randy,

 

I am so happy that you have posted here on VR bringing forward your knowledge and mentality for accident reduction.

 

Hopefully, the previous posters will accept what you wrote and accept the challenge to make a difference in every unit, every operation and at every level. They have an opportunity to make it happen for real and not just as an opinion on the internet!

 

We are a small brotherhood/sisterhood of helicopter pilots. We should all be working towards the goal of survival, accident reduction and always "Protecting the Sacred Trust" that our pax place in us as PIC.

Edited by Mikemv
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Thanks Mike. My wife, Kaye, and I just love your saying, 'Protecting the Sacred Trust' meaning of course the precious cargo you mention that places its full faith in us as pilots to bring them back home safely. If you don't mind I plan to use it often, attributing it to you of course.

 

Keep up your good work,

 

Randy

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I think I was mistaken, did you write an article that was recently in one of the helicopter magazines about your experiences flying EMS in Houston? As I said in my previous post, I enjoy following EMS aviation because a lot of the mission profiles, equipment, crew compositions and desire to accomplish the mission either very closely mirror each other or are identical in the case of an LE agency that does EMS. One of the major differences being that we (LE) are not looking at a profit margin. EMS is a field I would like to transition in to when the time comes. I was thinking about this discussion today when I had to land in a street intersection to let my partner out to assist on a call. I thought "Hmmmmm....There are pilots much more skilled than I am, flying better equipment who have killed themselves doing this...."

 

I see there is The Journey to the Golden Hour and The Golden Hour What are the differnces between the two books?

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Change has already happened. Anyone who follows EMS knows this. The majority of aircraft have already been equipped with the NTSB recommendations. My company was the first to be full up NVG. Not that it makes a difference but EMS has some of the highest hiring requirements out there. If you compare EMS to other Part 135 operations this year, we're doing better than fixedwing. The Feds have stepped in and it IS making a difference.

 

This isn't some haphazard "Wild West" operation that some would make it out to be. If it was there's no way I would have gotten into this segment. Are we out to make a profit? You darn right. This isn't the Salvation Army. If you want to talk greed look at all the contract jobs overseas. People dont go there because they like the Middle East, they go there for money. Simple as that. To say we in EMS sacrifice safety for profit is ridiculous. That's like saying some guy who flys his family in a single engine Bonanza is unsafe because he hasn't invested in a twin. God forbid if he does it IFR! As I pointed out above, there are plenty of single engine single pilot operations being done safely.

 

I'd like to see hard data on how much profit (if any) that a typical EMS company can make if they are completely equipped with dual engine dual pilot aircraft. Just don't believe it can be done at any reasonable profit and the reduction in accidents would be minor. Also as one poster said dual pilot bring their own problems. Accidents happen because of aircrew coordination errors up front as well. Plenty of wx related/human error accidents with dual piloted aircraft out there. Just look at Army Aircrews for that. Sometimes another pilot can put us in the "hurt locker" to a point where we can't recover his mistake.

 

The one thing I find on my job as an elevated risk actually hasn't even been brought up yet. That is work overs. You take someone who already has worked 7 on and send them across the country to fill in at another base. They are unfamiliar with the area and the aircraft might be of a different configuration. There's a lot to be said for knowing your aircraft and your area. Yet get to know wx trends, terrain, obstructions, common LZs and hospitals. Personally I avoid work overs at all costs. Not worth the extra money IMO.

 

I think there's another consideration that we haven't talked about yet in this "perfect world" scenario. That is, we can't find enough qualified applicants in a single pilot EMS world, how are we going to find enough for dual cockpits? There's a pilot shortage right now all over the EMS segment. No one's going to chose EMS pay over a lucrative overseas contract. So if you're going to attract more qualified applicants you would literally have to double what we make.

 

So in order for all this to work you'd have to buy an aircraft that costs more. An aircraft that's operated at sometimes twice the hourly costs. Another pilot to meet our stringent experience requirements and enough money to pay for the extra pilot who wants competitive wages. Can this really be done and the company still make a decent profit?

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Hi Flying Pig:

 

That's a funny handle and yep, I get it.

 

Yes I wrote A Surefire Fix for one of the most Dangerous Jobs in America that appeared in the October issue of Rotorcraft Pro Magazine. It also appeared in the August issue of Waypoint AirMed & Rescue in England. I also have a monthly column as well in Rotorcraft Pro that began in August entitled "My Two Cents Worth". In that same issue in my monthly column I describe how I came up with the title Emergency Medical Vertical Levitation Practitioner that I wore on my nametag for the five years I was in San Diego.

 

You asked about the difference between The Golden Hour and Journey to the Golden Hour. The Golden Hour was my first book that I began writing in 1985. It is fiction based on fact, written so that I could highlight the attitudes and practices I witnessed that if allowed to continue would cause more people to lose their lives.

 

Journey to the Golden Hour--My Path to the Most Dangerous Jobs in America: Flying a Medical Helicopter is the sequel to my second book currently optioned to be made into a movie entitled Dear Mom I'm Alive--Letters Home from Blackwidow 25 about my one year tour as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. Confused yet? Heaven knows when the movie will be made. I signed a literary purchase option and literary purchase agreement two years ago and the producer said he is still working on funding.

 

Journey to the Golden Hour came out in 2011. Here is the blurb describing Journey to the Golden Hour taken from the Smashwords website where it is offered as an eBook. It should give you an idea of what it is about: It is also offered in trade paperback through Amazon.com and my website www.randymains.com. (Shameless advertising huh?). Here’s the blurb:

 

Journey to the Golden Hour is the sequel to Randy Mains’ highly successful second book Dear Mom I’m Alive. It follows his incredible journey to Australia, New Guinea, Iran, and back home again where he and six other dedicated ex-Vietnam helicopter pilots try to prove to a doubting public and skeptical medical community that the helicopter can save lives in peacetime just as it did in Vietnam.

 

I actually wrote Journey to the Golden Hour to highlight what it was like, personally, to fly HEMS in the early days where there were only two hospital based programs in the States. In the book I include a chapter towards the end of the book entitled Twenty-six Years On, describing where the HEMS industry went after I left it to take the job flying with the Royal Oman Police to set up a country wide HEMS program there. That chapter is a slam-dunk on the industry today basically saying nothing has changed and is in fact more dangerous than when I first did it and I mention the reasons why. Dr. Kevin Hutton, the CEO of MedEvac International read the book and then purchased copies for each of his employees at his air medical billing company and told me he was making it mandatory reading for them. He also purchased a copy for Rick Sherlock who was then just new to the job as CEO of AAMS (association of air medical services.) so that Rick could have an idea of what he was getting in to.

 

All the best,

 

Randy Mains

Edited by Randy Mains

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Hello Velocity 173:

 

Yes, I have heard that change for the better has occurred in HEMS and if you say that the majority of the aircraft have already been equipped with the NTSB recommendations I will take your word for it.

 

I must say that I was extremely heartened to learn through your chief pilot, Dennis McCall, when he and I met at HELISUCCESS in November, that 100-percent of your aircraft are now flying with pilots using NVGs. I have also learned that 90% of the operators are using NVGs as well. NVGs won’t be the silver bullet but I am very hopeful that by doing that the accident rate will be reduced.

 

The thing is, people can say what they like but, as they say, for me, the proof is in the pudding. When I have empirical evidence that the accident rate is significantly reduced, that is, when I stop seeing HEMS aircraft crashing, then I will join in and say things are getting better. But from my perspective they are not and haven't been for 33 years. In less than a year six people have lost their lives in two HEMS crashes and three people in Texas were taken to intensive care after crashing on the 30th of September.

 

The problem will not be solved with technology. That’s a given. Attitudes must change if we want to see a significant reduction in the accident rate. That is where CRM, crew resource management will come in to play.

 

The HEMS industry is where the airline industry was back in 1979. Back then perfectly good aircraft, with lots of high-tech gear, were being flown into the ground at the same alarming rate as we see in our HEMS industry now.

 

It was in December 1978 when a DC-8 crashed in Portland, Oregon, after running out of fuel because the three flight crew were fixated on a burned out landing gear indication light that the NTSB said ‘enough’ and did a study through the Ames Research Center at NASA to find out why flight crews were crashing perfectly serviceable aircraft. In that study they discovered that from 1968-1976 there were sixty airline crashes where there was an element of human error attributed to the cause of the crash.

 

I am a CRM assessor and a CRM instructor. I was first exposed to CRM back in 1985. I aways thought the accident investigations didn't go far enough to discover the real reason for a crash. They would conclude, for example, that the pilot went inadvertant IMC, lost spacial orientation and crashed. But they never asked why are HEMS pilots making bad decisions that are causing them to exceed their capabilites and crash?

 

I am certain that if the HEMS programs in America fully embrace CRM and AMRM (air medical resource management) then we will truly see a change. But it must be bought in to and accepted by top management on down. All stakeholders who can have an influence on the safe outcome of the flight must be a part of the CRM training for it to work. Everyone must know the effect their actions or inactions have on the successful outcome of each and every flight.

 

On the profit issue you brought up, making a profit is of course why you are in business and that’s fine. But you now bring up a topic I wasn’t going to touch on and that is the obscene amount of money charged to a patient on most HEMS flights. How would you feel, for example, if a loved one was flown in to the hospital for a bump on the head, no loss of consciousness, and for a 13-minute flight in a Bell Jet Ranger that loved one received a bill for $16,000 and that is after being released from the ER after spending an hour there? Then the bill is handed over to a collection agency where your loved one is hounded relentlessly for payment?

 

A similar scenario can be seen here.

 

This is not an isolated case and it is something I address in my latest book Journey to the Golden Hour.

 

Regarding, single engine vs twins. I agree with you I think single engine aircraft have a great safety record. But to fly two crew with the added weight you’re going to need two engines.

 

You’re right about going to the Middle East to make money. I certainly don’t see it as greed though. When I took my first job with Bell Helicopter in Iran I saw it as the only way I could get ahead. When I flew single-pilot IFR in San Diego I was making the same wage as the kid stocking milk at the local grocery store, a fact I wrote about in my first article for Rotor and Wing in 1983 Life and Death--an EMS Pilot's Viewpoint. So to make a salary I felt was commensurate with the responsibility I shouldered I left the States and took a job somewhere where I could make a decent wage.

 

I agree with what you say about the elevated risk of a work over. It certainly should be something to be considered by management as to whether it is safe or is it unsafe?

 

You also brought up something near and dear to my heart. You asked that if we can't find enough qualified applicants for flying in the single pilot EMS world, how are we going to find enough for dual cockpits?

 

I would suggest bringing on a new commercial pilot to put in the left seat to learn and for you to mentor. There are some programs out there that use paramedics or nurses to fill the bill in some of the twin-engine programs out there and I don't think they would be much help if the captain lost spacial orientation. I have seen relatively inexperienced Robbie pilots keep the 'old guys' out of trouble in the flight simulator. I think there is an excellent opportunity here to bring along a new pilot who hasn’t yet come up to the hourly and experience requirement yet. It is a win-win situation for everyone.

 

By the way, I am working my last tour here in the Middle East at Abu Dhabi Aviation. On my last tour I tendered my resignation and I will be leaving at the end of January. As the FAA has now mandated that all Part 135 operators must have yearly CRM classes, I saw this as an opportunity to try to make a hands-on difference in HEMS in the States.

 

After my keynote speech on CRM at the AMTC AAMS conference in Seattle in October, Oregon Aero now wants to promote my message and has offered to sponsor me as their Chief CRM/AMRM Instructor, a position they created specifically for me to hopefully be invited to HEMS programs in the States and facilitate CRM courses.

 

We do not see eye-to-eye on several points, but that's OK. I am happy to agree to disagree. Opposing views cause one to think. What is certain is that we are on parallel tracks focused on the same goal; we both want to see a HEMS system in the States that is safe for everyone concerned.

 

Fly safe,

 

Randy Mains

Edited by Randy Mains

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Randy, I think you're very much out of date on the current status of HEMS in the US. Things aren't at all like they were at Hermann lo those many decades ago. Between greatly increased scrutiny from the FAA and the pressures of the marketplace, operators are placing much more emphasis on safety, and the weather minima are much higher than they were even a few years ago. I currently fly to by far the highest minima I've ever had in 40+ years of flying, >3 times the ceiling and visibility of my previous jobs. Safety is being pushed from the top down, and not just in my company. NVGs are becoming mandatory, through market pressures if not from the FAA. Quasi-TAWS are becoming standard, while we wait for a real TAWS to appear, and there are efforts being made to field light-weight, cost-effective autopilots for light helicopters. It won't happen overnight, but it's coming.

 

IMO the greatest pressures on pilots are self-imposed. We (speaking for pilots in general, whether authorized or not, but using my impressions of pilots in general) feel the need to be heros, and push on well past the point of busting minimums. The pressure comes from ourselves, and from peer pressure, both from other pilots and from the med crews. Most of it is only perceived pressure, not real, but perception becomes reality. Med crew pressure is really mixed, because some of them are afraid of flying even in good weather, while others think we can handle anything, and therefore want to charge on regardless of the weather or anything else. IMO the secret to getting old in this profession is learning to say NO, politely but firmly, and sticking to our decisions to stay on the ground. Waffling, while making the decision and while enroute, is dangerous, although it is common. If you say no firmly, every time, the med crews will begin to accept your decisions without quibbling. I've never, ever, had anyone up the chain question my decision to decline a flight, but I wouldn't be surprised to be questioned about taking one if the conditions were at or below minimums. I can't say the same for management of offshore operators, though. I've been pushed hard out there, but standing up and firmly saying no worked even there.

 

Everyone says there are lots of HEMS accidents, and there are, but one needs to look at the rate. The HEMS accident rate per 100,000 hours flight time is not that high, and in fact lower than the GA rate. There are well over 1000 EMS helicopters flying in the US, and one operator alone has well over 100. I don't see any possibility of ever eliminating all HEMS accidents except by eliminating all HEMS flights. But the rate trend is going down, and I think it will continue to do so. I certainly agree that having two pilots is safer than one, under almost all circumstances, but the only way that will ever happen is if the government, at some level, does its job and takes over the responsibility, eliminating the profit motive. That won't happen during my career.

 

And speaking of high bills, the main reason for those is the reimbursement rate. If you hold your operation out as an air ambulance, you can't turn down flights based on the patient's ability to pay, so we fly everything, and the reimbursement rate is on the order of 30%, meaning about 70% of the flights are never collected, leaving the remaining 30% to provide a profit to the company. That's grossly inefficient, and could be fixed by providing health insurance coverage to everyone. If everyone had health insurance, like in every other industrialized country in the world, the cost could be evenly spread, and much cheaper for all. Unfortunately, the current political situation will prevent that for some time.

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Well Randy you bring up some valid points. I just think it's not in the budget to get it done. I don't know how much profit the company I work for makes. As I said I would love to see a break down in costs if what a dual engine/pilot fleet would look like. Also I don't know the chief pilot you speak of so maybe my company wasn't the first NVG equipped fleet.

 

I agree you could get around the higher hiring Requirements by throwing in a SIC spot with lesser hours and pay. A "Robbie" guy as a second set of eyes up front would help.

 

As far as what a company charges? Well, I agree, it's high. Once again I don't have a break down in how much money is required to operate a HEMS. Sometimes I wonder how many people I fly have health insurance. How many can even pay for the service at all? We have to fly them regardless of their ability to pay so that naturally will have to be passed on to those customers who can pay. I imagine that is the biggest reason for such high transportation costs. That and the fact our mechanic gets paid too much:)

 

I'd like to think we all are using proper CRM. Not only for the interaction with the crew members in the back but simply sticking to checklist procedures for the single pilot up front. Having taught Aircrew Coordination Training (Army CRM) I can also say that's it's not a perfect solution. It helps but it's only good if the crews are applying the concepts. Sometimes crews don't even realize they've strayed outside of CRM. I've missed switches before while reading the checklist. It happens. My last year instructing ACT all four modules showed a breakdown in CRM that I'm sure the crews didn't even realize they were violating. Oddly enough all four were experienced crews as well. I think that was the Safety Center guys at Rucker trying to dispel the myth that accidents only happen to junior crews. CRM has been around for almost 20 yrs and we still have human error accidents. We're all suppose to be applying proper CRM but yet you have a commuter jet select the wrong runway in Lexington KY and crash. More recently a C-17 crew landing on a small civilian runway when their obvious target was a military field 5 miles ahead. CRM works only if it's implemented to the letter. Crews are not robots and distractions will always happen.

 

I do believe we need to revamp our risk assessment process. Filling out a risk assessment should acurrately reflect the situation. For me to be anything other than "low" risk I'd have to be flying unaided to a scene site in the mountains through a tropical storm. Let's at least address the risk from a realistic view.

 

As far as you going overseas I wasn't implying you were in seek of wealth. I'm sure your expertise is in high demand over there. Fact of the matter is we have companies in undesirable places of the world and we have pilots that go there in seek of wealth. No one says "man I love the summers in Iraq" or "the people in Afghanistan sure are friendly." we go to those places because of greed. Let's face it, if my job paid what contractors make overseas then we wouldn't have such a high pilot shortage. If the military paid us the same amount contractors make then we would'nt have a need to get out of the military. My point is, I just don't think we should criticize a HEMS program for wanting to make a buck, when we as pilots follow the same philosophy.

 

So I sincerely hope that your safety principles can be applied under a realistic budget. If it can, well then we'll all benefit. It would be a safer more efficient system. I just think in today's economy companies can only afford so many safety enhancements. What you're suggesting might be slightly outside their reach right now.

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To put charges into perspective, per base:

4 full-time pilots and an apportioned share of the relief pilot force;

1 full-time mechanic, and an apportioned share of relief mechs, shop force;

4 full-time experienced nurses, plus...

4 full time experienced flight medics, plus...

1 medically equipped helicopter, available 24/7/365, fuel, DOC...

Admin/management/medical supervision/training.

Paid for by 30% collection rate. Not as bad as outrageous as a $200 hospital aspirin, but until somebody figures out a way to get the insurance companies actively involved in trauma as an aspect of a health care system, and not a single product. I think a comparable is DACS in Germany?

 

Nights are the issue in HEMS. NVGs help, but they don't address a fundamental issue: pilots. Pilots are human, humans are diurnal, and have circadian rhythms. You can't just flip a switch and run maximum intellectual efficiency 12 hours out of phase.

 

P.S. I suspect you misunderstood Mr McCall, I don't believe we're 100% NVG.

Edited by Wally
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Hello Gomer Pylot: (Love the handle)

 

You are probably right. I could be very much out of date on the current status of HEMS in the US. I most certainly was before August 31st 2010 when I heard about that crash in Arkansas killing another three people causing me to feel compelled to at least say something and ending up on the stage at the AMTC in St. Louis. Since then, however, for more than two years, I have been reading everything I can get my hands on regarding HEMS in the States plus having some meaningful dialogue with experienced pilots like yourself and Velocity 173 plus HEMS pilots both on the Internet and in person whom I've met at the conferences where I have been invited to speak.

 

What it appeared to me while living and flying abroad for so many years was that the FAA and NTSB and in fact Congress seemed like they were the Inspector Clouseaus of our government where Peter Sellers,the bumbling French policeman in the movie Return of the Pink Panther, is hassling a blind panhandler off a street corner in Paris as a bank robbery is taking place behind him, that is, focusing on the minutia while missing the big picture. As I say, that is how it appeared to me anyway. But, as it turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

 

Through literally hours and hours of research, (read weeks and weeks) I found that The FAA and the NTSB have been all over the problem going back as far as 1989. It is just their good advice has not been heeded. The two agencies have published about 50 excellent articles and Advisory Circulars on the subject, for example AC 135-14A published in 1991 giving guidance on HEMS operations. They have published Advisory Circulars on CRM for air medical programs and an Advisory Circular on AMRM and on HEMS pilot decision making.

 

In my research, I was particularly impressed with a presentation given on May 4th by Robert Sumwalt, an NTSB board member on the subject of HEMS safety. He gave an excellent Powerpoint presentation to those who use and lease HEMS helicopters. In his presentation he was appealing to them to shop wisely and use the safest vendor they could find giving them some criteria to use.

 

In his May 2011 presentation, Sumwalt said, “The current accident rate is unacceptable. Not all air ambulance operators are created equally from a safety perspective, and as consumers of air ambulance transport, you can ‘up the ante’ on how they operate.” Another recommendation he made was this, “Require an autopilot if a second pilot is not available.” He then goes on to ask, “Are helicopters that you use equipped with H-TAWS, NVIS, autopilots or two pilots?”

 

It wasn’t until I became an activist for change and I discovered Sumwalt’s presentation that bore a striking resemblance to the ideas I thought would be good safety practices too. His Powerpoint presentation seen in PDF format can be found here. It is worth having a look.

 

http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/speeches/sumwalt/sumwalt_050411.pdf

 

I am heartened to hear you say that, from your perspective, operators are placing much more emphasis on safety. I have heard that as well. It is also good to hear you say that the weather minima are much higher than they were even a few years ago that you currently fly to the highest minima you’ve ever had in 40+ years of flying with greater than 3 times the ceiling and visibility of your previous jobs. It’s also good to hear that safety is being pushed from the top down, and not just in the company you work for. That truly is good news. If what you say is true, and I have no reason at all to doubt you, then why are we still having accidents?

 

Ahhh, then you go on to answer that question as well. I think the real gold nugget in your thread and where I think you really nailed the root of the problem is when you said the greatest pressures on pilots are self-imposed. Bingo!

 

I fully understand what you are saying. You are right about the personality make-up of a helicopter pilot. In fact a helicopter pilot’s goal-oriented personality is brought out extremely well in the excellent FAA Advisory Circular DOT/FAAJDS-88/7 written way back in 1989 in the document entitled: Risk Management for Air Ambulance Helicopter Operators. That document is as relevant today as it was the day it was written and can be found at the following link.

 

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA212662.

 

I have been caught in my own trap, too, while flying HEMS, feeling like I had to complete the mission no matter what. I wrote about a particular incident in my book Journey to the Golden Hour when I was a brand new pilot flying at Hermann Hospital in Houston. Because of pressure I had put on myself to try to get the medical team to a small outlying hospital to attend to a 5-year old girl who had been beaten unconscious by her step-father, plus I was new to the program and trying hard to prove that I had what it took to do the job, I pushed myself past my personal limit and at 10pm at night with a 700’ overcast, I inadvertently flew into the clouds and nearly lost it.

 

In your parlance you say, "Often pilots feel the need to be a hero pushing well past the point of busting minimums." That is why the Enroute Decision Point that I wrote about in my column in the November issue of Rotorcraft Pro is such a valuable tool. Reaching it, (a minimum altitude set by you in advance and/or a reduction of 30 knots below cruising speed) makes the decision for us like reaching a DA or MDA on an instrument approach to do one of three things: Turn around, land, or if equipped, climb and get IFR handling but do not continue.

 

You have hit on a very important point there and, hopefully, through CRM training when we talk about decision making, the pilots will convince themselves to adopt a safer attitude and drop the hero mentality thinking that, well, we may not have accomplished this mission but at least we will be able to fly to accomplish others on another day.

 

http://content.yudu.com/A1vzrm/November2012/resources/index.htm?referrerUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.justhelicopters.com%2Ftabid%2F420%2FDefault.aspx

 

You point out that the accident rate is decreasing per 100,000 hours of flight time. I agree with you. In my mind anyway, and I guess in Robert Sumwalt’s mind too, the rate is still unacceptable. We aren’t there yet.

 

I love your idea that everyone should have health insurance and by doing so the cost of these HEMS flights could be evenly spread and much cheaper for all. You are correct in saying that unfortunately the current political situation will prevent that for some time.

 

You have brought up some excellent points. I really appreciated your comments. I wish the industry and the pilots would ‘get it’ and become a safer entity than it is today. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, the airlines were where we in the HEMS industry are today. Change can be made and the accident rate reduced as was demonstrated in the airline industry. I am confident that with full commitment and the right attitude by all stakeholders who have an effect in whether a flight is successful or ends in tragedy, the accident rate can be reduced further.

Randy Mains

Edited by Randy Mains

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Hi Wally:

 

Hmmm. I spoke to Jim Sineath and to Mr. McCall and they both told me Air Methods was 100% NVG compliant. The thing is you guys seem very close to achieving that impressive figure and that comes as very good news..

 

You also brought up an excellent point in your thread when you said, "Nights are the issue in HEMS. NVGs help, but they don't address a fundamental issue: pilots. Pilots are human, humans are diurnal, and have circadian rhythms. You can't just flip a switch and run maximum intellectual efficiency 12 hours out of phase."

 

Great point!

 

By the way, a bit of a war story. I flew with Jim Sineath, one of your Air Methods trainers, when I was with Bell Helicopter in Iran. He and I were flying together shortly after I had been flying in New Guinea before taking the job with Bell. We were doing a cross country exercise with the Iranian students when I had a malaria attack and was so out of it I couldn't identify the clock! He immediately flew me to the Bell clinic where I was treated. Luckily the type of malaria I had wasn't chronic and I've had no other attack. Knock on wood.

 

Fly safe,

 

Randy Mains

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Hello again Velocity 173.

 

You mention that you wonder how many people you fly have health insurance to help cover the cost of the flight. Good question.

 

You may have watched the clip I included in my last thread to you where the lady had purchased insurance with one HEMS operator and was picked up by another when she’d had an accident and her bill was not covered. Tragic bad luck huh?

 

As you were a former Aircrew Coordination Training instructor in the Army I would be interested to know how CRM is presented in the Army. For attitudes to change, the attendees need to be guided by a facilitator to personally speak about issues and events that they have experienced in their career and have done themselves for them to come around to the safe way of thinking. The airlines facilitate CRM courses, they are not taught in the conventional way as one would, say, be taught math or any other subject where the instructor is the expert and imparts information to the class. In CRM training these days the attendees already have the answer they just do not know it yet.

 

In my CRM train the trainer course in Cheshire, England that I took in May, (because Global Air Training has been teaching Train the Trainer courses for 16 years) we learned that attitudes and beliefs cannot be changed through lecture. That is because we as adults have beliefs, values and experiences we think are correct. To be told they are incorrect just does not work to change behavior. The attendee, (we were called delegates in our train-the-trainer course of 13), have to come up with the answer themselves by talking about individual experiences about, say, loss of situational awareness, or leadership or decision making that is relevant to them for individual attitudes to change. That is why I really despair when I learn that CRM/AMRM classes, now mandated by the FAA to all Part 135 operators, are being done on a computer or by lecture. It satisfies the letter of the law, ticking the box, but certainly doesn't satisfy the spirit of the law.

 

Of course during the CRM initial class the facilitator has to ‘teach’ the concepts of CRM to establish a good foundation for the attendees. The modules I deliver in my one-day eight hour course are: Why CRM, history and effect on air safety, human error and reliability, error chain, error prevention and detection, threat and error management, company safety culture, SOPs, stress, stress management, fatigue and vigilance, information processing and situation awareness, workload management decision making , communication and coordination inside and outside the cockpit how we communicate and the effect on the outcome of the task, conflict resolution, leadership and team building, behavior and group synergy, ending with case based studies.

 

It sounds like you have a very interesting background in CRM and one I would like to sit down and explore with you sometime and hear your views. You say you have missed switches before while reading a checklist. Yep, I sure hear you there. So have I. I tell the pilots I fly with that I am the most dangerous guy they could fly with because they assume I will not make a mistake, but I will.

 

You nailed it when you said CRM has been around for some time and we still have accidents attributed to human error. Since 1940, when records began, the percentage of accidents where there has been an element of human error still hovers around 75%. Unfortunately, it is something like 82% in HEMS.

 

I like your idea of revamping the risk assessment process if you think that is something that needs addressing. I like your idea of addressing the risk from a realistic view.

 

You are right in saying what I am suggesting, two crew, NVGs, twins, all that I mentioned in my speech, is well beyond the operator’s reach right now. The thing is, and I think this is relevant, the way we operate HEMS in the States would not be allowed in nearly every other Western country out there. It makes one wonder what other countries know that we don’t?.

 

It’s good sharing views with you Velocity 173. It is obvious in our dialogue that you are a very experienced pilot who fully understands the importance of CRM and operates knowing how any one of us can make a mistake. You are someone I would want to fly with or a pilot I would not hesitate placing my loved ones in the back of your helicopter because you appear to operate to a standard that does not exceed your limits. I use that criteria every time I issue a license or do a six-monthly instrument and operational (VFR) checkride. If I can be comfortable placing my loved ones in the back and be relatively certain that that pilot or crew will bring them back home safely, then they pass the ride.

 

Fly safe,

 

Randy Mains

Edited by Randy Mains

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If you compare CBS with HBS programs, then you can see that the profit in the HBS programs is higher since most patients will end up at your HBS program hospital, where they get further treatment, which means also a higher income for the hospital.

 

All the EMS bases here in MN operate either twin engine helicopter’s (A109 Power/EC145) “SPIFR” with or without NVG’s, 3 axis autopilot or single engine BH407 equipped with 2 axis autopilot and NVG’s.

 

I personally would like to have a copilot next to me. Not because I couldn’t do it without him but just to reduce the workload on busy flights or on flights between 1am and 4 am. Or just for the case of a bird strike, which may or may not make its way into the cockpit and knocks me out.

 

The BK117 C2 /EC145 is a great aircraft but adding a permanent copilot to the crew will make confined takeoff’s and landings on warm and humid summer days difficult or impossible. Also on IFR days, an additional crewmember will decreased our range and might be the reason to turn down the flight due to the fact that we can’t put enough fuel on to comply with 135.2239(B)(3).

 

I personally haven’t flown a BH407 or AS350 but the way the interior is designed, there is no space for a copilot seat, since that’s where the patients legs / stretcher is

 

As far as operating costs of single and twin engine helicopters per hour.

 

EC145: ~ $1329

A109: ~ $1112

 

AS350: ~ $740

BH407: ~ $768

 

By looking at those numbers, I can see why CBS programs don’t get twins, plus the fact that your pilots at an IFR program need an additional checked every 6 months which adds more $ to the total cost of the program.

 

As far as not finding enough “experienced pilots. Sure, money isn’t everything but why would somebody with 100hrs+ actual IFR apply at AMC when you can make 10-20k more a year at another, smaller EMS vendor doing the same job ? Cost of living has gone up, people are more picky these days.

 

In a perfect world, I would like to see a AW139 or S76D in the EMS market, since IFR flights can be done safely in known icing conditions and performance seems to be available at ISA + 20C OAT, enough space and power for an additional crew member’Copilot’, 2 patient transport, ….. but that will never happen anyway plus most HBS and CBS programs are now nervous about the change in Medicare reimbursement starting in 2014.

And I would love to be able to receive simulator training twice a year in the aircraft I fly, to do all the emergency procedures we can’t do with our CCE during our 135.293-299 rides. And to have a 3rd person outside my work environment assess me and share his prospective with me.

 

Bigger EMS companies are using AVSTAR or CTS for the annual training/safety training but if that is making our daily operation safer, is another question…

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Hi Falko:

 

You've added some good insights here. I found the operating costs for the four aircraft you mentioned interesting too. Like you, I would love to have another pilot sitting next to me for the reasons you mentioned, busy flights with high workload, certainly when flying in marginal weather or hard IFR, or during that dreaded time from 1am to 4am or certainly if there is an in-flight emergency.

 

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, do I think we in America will ever go to two crew considering everything that would entail to make it happen? I seriously doubt it for all the reasons everyone has pointed out in the posts. I have to wonder what options are available if the accidents continue with the great regularity they have for the past 33 years.

 

As every pilot knows, the safety of the aircraft rests squarely in the very hands of the pilot but have they REALLY stopped to think what that means? The sacred trust placed in the pilot's hands by those whom the pilot flies is something a HEMS pilot must always be mindful of.

 

Have you ever stopped to think that whenever a HEMS flight crewmember, doctor, flight nurse, paramedic climbs in to a helicopter that a HEMS pilot is commanding, they are offering that pilot the most resounding endorsement any human being can bestow upon another because by taking that leap of faith by climbing aboard that helicopter they are literally saying to that pilot by their actions, "I trust your judgment and your ability implicitly, with such conviction that I am willing to place my very life in your hands and literally make the ultimate bet, with my life, that you will deliver me home safely to my loved ones."

 

It's been great sharing views with all of you. If my speech in St. Louis at the AMTC AAMS conference has done nothing else it has sparked dialogue and caused people to think. I want to thank everyone who has contributed for taking the time to share their views.

 

I wish each and every one of you the greatest success in your aviation career.

 

Randy Mains

Edited by Randy Mains
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Randy Mains wrote "...attitudes and beliefs cannot be changed through lecture. That is because we as adults have beliefs, values and experiences we think are correct. To be told they are incorrect just does not work to change behavior...That is why I really despair when I learn that CRM/AMRM classes, now mandated by the FAA to all Part 135 operators, are being done on a computer or by lecture."

 

I agree. However, just as Randy Mains despairs at the prospect of CRM taught by computer or lecture, I similarly feel frustrated by the continued cultural belief that two pilots or two engines provide greater safety.

 

A careful study of the data, with beliefs set aside, indicates no safety-difference between single and dual pilot operations, and no difference between single and twin engine operations.

 

The unsubstantiated insistence that two pilot or twin engine operations contribute to safety drains energy and money from the more relevant and effective safety strategies.

 

Yes, and with all respect, I acknowledge the appeal to "common sense" that dual pilots and twin engines present to the observer who already believes these two strategies provide greater safety: as Randy Mains has written, "we as adults have beliefs, values and experiences we think are correct."

 

I would very much like to have dialogue on this subject. However, I suspect my perspective on this subject falls too far outside the present aviation culture's world view.

 

It remains, though, that within the context of present engine technology and current CRM practices, twin engines and dual pilots have an accompanying sets complexities and issues that undo and nullify whatever benefits twin engines and dual pilots would otherwise provide. In this case, the bean counters have it right. Two pilots and two engines waste money.

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