A weekly update illustrating some of the ways that Helicopter Association International (HAI) is “Keeping the Rotors Turning” for our members.
Helicopter Air Medical Safety Conference Recap
Last week, HAI hosted an Air Medical Safety Conference at the Hilton Crystal City at Washington Reagan National Airport, near Washington, D.C. The event was co-sponsored by the Air Medical Operators Association (AMOA) and Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS).
An inaugural event, the conference brought air medical operators together with federal regulators in an effort to improve safety in all aspects of helicopter air ambulance services. Over the course of two days, more than 100 attendees listened to government and industry leaders (see top photo), who presented safety topics and statistics.
HAI dedicated the morning sessions on the first day to FAA representatives, who spoke on regulatory issues affecting the industry. Topics included effects from the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act, preemption threats, and the FAA agency legal perspective. The afternoon included a panel discussion on UAS integration and impact to the industry, followed by a presentation by helicopter crash survivor Krista Haugen, speaking on Managing High-Risk Environments.
The second day started with a presentation – and active discussion – on Air Medical Accident statistics, presented by Matt Rigsby and Lee Roskop of the FAA. This was followed by NTSB vice chairman Bruce Landesberg addressing the audience with a presentation entitled “Perspective – Accidents and Recommendations (see photo). The remainder of the day included HAI president and CEO Matt Zuccaro on HAA Corporate Safety Culture; a legislative update from HAI vice president of government affairs Cade Clark, AAMS vice president of government affairs Chris Eastlee, and Simone Perez, staff member on the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Aviation and Space; and HAI director of safety Chris Hill, announcing the release of HAI’s Aviation Reporting Program (HARP), a web-based system for reporting aviation incidents that is tailored for helicopter operations. Michael Smith of Bell made the final presentation of the event, a discussion on Occupant Protection Initiatives.
Matt Zuccaro, President and CEO
Matt has been out and about quite a lot over the last week. He moderated several panels at the HAI Helicopter Air Medical Safety Conference, and also made a presentation on the Corporate Safety Culture within the Helicopter Air Ambulance (HAA) industry. Late last week, he also participated in an Aviation Industry Roundtable, joining the heads of other aviation associations at the annual Airline Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Fly-in.
Early this week, Matt represented the helicopter industry when he participated as a member of the National Parks Overflight Advisory Group (NPOAG) during their meeting at Grand Teton National Park.
Cade Clark, Vice President, Government Affairs
Earlier this week, Cade traveled to Salt Lake City to participate in the May planning meeting of the Utah Rotor Pathway Program. The program committee met to discuss industry participation in the program, including next steps for student participation starting in the fall. The focus of the Rotor Pathway Program is to establish innovative educational programs to increase the number of helicopter pilots and mechanics. While in Utah, Cade also met with Guardian Flight to learn more about their operations and the legislative and regulatory issues that are impacting the helicopter industry.
Meanwhile, in Washington, the Senate Commerce Committee is holding a hearing today on Steve Dickson’s nomination to be FAA administrator. Additionally, on Wednesday morning, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee is holding a hearing with acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell and NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt on the Boeing 737 Max.
Dickson and Elwell bring a unique congressional element to the nomination process. Typically, the Senate handles the approval of a nominee. However, current law states that if the FAA administrator is a former military officer, then the deputy administrator can’t also be a former or retired officer. Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio recently told reporters that, “Passing legislation to allow Steve Dickson and Dan Elwell to serve in the FAA's top posts shouldn't be difficult” and that he didn’t think the matter “merits a hearing.”
Matt Callan, Director, Regulations and International Affairs
This week, Matt is attending a meeting in Berlin, Germany, at the Ministry of Transportation and Digital Infrastructure. Members of the Flight Operations Panel (see photo) are reviewing numerous Job Cards, to include helicopter-specific issues involving performance, dangerous goods, international GA, and offshore alternates.