The NTSB has issued 15 safety recommendations to various government regulators and helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) operators following a dramatic increase in accidents. Among them are the creation of scenario-based pilot training curriculum, installation of flight data recorders for aircraft, the use of an autopilot in single-pilot operations and use of night-vision equipment for pilots.
According to the NTSB, of the 55 mediflight accidents which occurred in the last 3 years, of which 41 were helicopters, 29 could have been prevented with the adoption of these recommendations and the others contained in the press release.
As a result of the increase in accidents, a 4-day hearing was conducted in February by the NTSB with testimony from the FAA, the Helicopter Association International (HAI), the Association of Air Medical Services, the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association, the National EMS Pilots Association, Air Methods, and CareFlite. The following was determined to be the focus of the hearings:
- Pilot Training
- Collection of Flight Operations Data
- Use of Flight Recording Devices and Data
- Safety Management Systems
- Weather Information
- Use of Autopilots or Dual Pilots
- Night Vision Imaging Systems
- Reimbursement Rate Structures
- Federal Policy and Guidelines
The full press release can be seen here