Fall Issue

The Magazine of Helicopter Association International

After the Violation of an FAR
Robert Lakind, Esq. 2018 Fall

A kinder, gentler FAA? The US aviation regulator is changing its enforcement tactics.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as or relied upon as legal advice. If you have questions about a specific FAA investigation of you or your company, or about an administrative, compliance, or enforcement action, you should contact an attorney.

What happens after you violate a Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR)? There have been some changes recently in how the FAA handles the process.

Prior to 2015, the enforcement action was the FAA’s primary method for dealing with violators. The agency could initiate an enforcement action, which could include a fine and either suspension or revocation of a certificate, against any FAA-certificated entity, including operators, pilots, maintenance technicians, repair stations, and equipment manufacturers.

In 2015, the FAA adopted a program known as the Compliance Philosophy. An attempt to embrace a just culture, the Compliance Philosophy is built around the idea that very few people get up in the morning thinking about how unsafe they plan on being that day. Most FAR violations are the result of honest mistakes, lack of knowledge, or lack of skill. In a just culture, people are encouraged to admit to their mistakes, and the goal is to improve safety—not to punish.

The FAA announced that it would focus on returning violators to compliance with the FARs and improving safety in the National Airspace System. Thus, the compliance action was born. If you haven’t heard of it, then read on, because the FAA has changed how it deals with some FAR violations.

Letter of Investigation

You usually first learn that the FAA believes you have violated an FAR when you receive a letter of investigation (LOI). The LOI usually ends with the following invitation to discuss the incident with the FAA: “We wish to offer you an opportunity to discuss the incident in person or submit a written statement.… Your statement should contain all pertinent facts and any mitigating circumstances.… If we do not hear from you within the specified time, we will process this matter without the benefit of your statement.”

Your first inclination may be to immediately respond to the LOI, but first, take a moment. Consider whether a response is appropriate and what that response should be. There is no obligation to respond to an LOI—the FAA will neither penalize nor reward you for responding. Furthermore, any statements you make in your response can be used against you. In fact, there are cases where the response to an LOI helped the FAA prove its charges. Because the decision of whether to respond to an LOI and what to say depends on the particular facts of your case, talk with your attorney before responding to an LOI.

An FAA investigation commenced by an LOI can end in one of four ways:

  • No violation found
  • Administrative action
  • Enforcement action
  • Compliance action.

Of course, the best outcome of an investigation is the FAA finding no violation. Another option is the route of an administrative action. This does not result in a violation against you, but typically the FAA will issue a warning notice (that stays on your record for two years) or a letter of corrective action for you to take.

Enforcement Action

The penalties of an enforcement action come in two types. The FAA can issue a notice of proposed certificate action, which either proposes to suspend or revoke your certificate. It can also issue a notice of proposed civil penalty, which proposes a fine.

If you receive either of these notices during an enforcement action, you can submit any evidence favorable to you and request what is known as an informal conference with the FAA. Bring your legal counsel. At the informal conference, the FAA will hear the information you want to present and consider whether this information should affect the proposed action.

As stated by the FAA in its Enforcement Manual: “The FAA does not use the informal conference to gather additional evidence or admissions to prove the charges in the enforcement action. The FAA, however, may use any information revealed by the apparent violator for impeachment purposes if the apparent violator makes a contrary statement about a material fact later in the proceeding.” Thus, when speaking with the FAA, speak carefully, as misstatements can be used against you.

If you are unsuccessful at having all charges withdrawn at the informal conference, then the FAA will issue an order that suspends or revokes your certificate and/or results in a fine. An FAA order suspending or revoking a certificate can be appealed first to the National Transportation Safety Board and then to the federal courts. An FAA order that fines an operator is generally appealed to the Department of Transportation and then also to the federal courts.

Compliance Action

The FAA’s fourth method for dealing with violations of the FARs is the compliance action, which is relatively new. The FAA refers to a compliance action as a nonenforcement method because, if you are offered a compliance action and meet its requirements, then you avoid a violation, which is clearly to your benefit.

Whether to offer a compliance action to a suspected violator, as opposed to pursuing an enforcement action, remains within the discretion of the FAA. However, there are some things that you can do to tilt the odds in your favor. First and most important, compliance actions are only available if the FAA determines that you have not willfully violated the FARs. The FAA says it will have “zero tolerance for intentional or reckless behavior,” and these cases will still be subject to enforcement actions.

The next test you must meet is to be “able and willing” to cooperate with the compliance action. The compliance action is designed to set up an honest and transparent dialogue between you and the FAA about what you did, what went wrong, why it went wrong, and how you will avoid similar situations.

The FAA uses that information to develop corrective measures to return you to compliance. If you complete these measures, you should avoid a violation. The goal, after all, is not to punish you but to return you to compliance with the FARs.

Generally, a compliance action ends with the completion of retraining or counseling, as opposed to a fine or suspension. You must be willing and able to comply with all the terms of the compliance action, including paying all training costs.

Another factor that could increase your chances of receiving a compliance action is having an effective safety management system (SMS) program. Why? This means you have a vibrant safety culture, where you and your colleagues actively work to identify safety hazards, engage in risk analysis and mitigation, and fine-tune your efforts based on results. Notice, I said an effective SMS program; the dusty manual on your shelf doesn’t count.

According to the FAA, under its Compliance Philosophy, it “will encourage a more proactive approach by airports, airmen, and organizations to disclose and develop measures that identify safety risk, prevent deviations, and ensure corrective actions are taken when deviations exist.” If you operate under an SMS, then the Compliance Philosophy’s focus on open communication, hazard identification and mitigation, and training should sound familiar.

The FAA has made clear that your retention of an attorney does not prevent you from obtaining a compliance action. Further, an initial refusal to respond to an LOI does not prevent you from obtaining a compliance action. However, once a compliance action has commenced, then you must voluntarily share information with the FAA.

Further, once you agree to enter into a compliance action, you must make a strong effort to remain in the program. If you are removed from a compliance action—maybe you never got around to completing your remedial training—the required disclosures you made as part of the compliance action can be used against you in an enforcement action.

Another balancing act that you and your counsel must undertake is this: if the FAA has not yet offered a compliance action, should you request one? While that answer will depend on your specific circumstances, I can tell you this: if you decide to request a compliance action, you must do so in such a way as to ensure that you are not admitting to certain things before you know you have the protection of a compliance action. If you are being investigated by the FAA and you wish to receive a compliance action, and one has not yet been offered, discuss with your attorney the best way to present the request to the FAA.

Embracing a Just Culture

The Compliance Philosophy should be viewed as a benefit for all of us who are certificated by the FAA. The FAA is clear that it will launch enforcement actions against those who are reckless or who do not want to comply with the FARs. And that’s as it should be—we need our regulator to keep us safe from those guys.

However, for those of us who make an honest mistake, have a temporary lapse of judgment, or let our skills get rusty, the alternative of a compliance action is a welcome change from an FAA that has embraced a just culture. 

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Roy Simmons: A Life in Helicopters
Marty Pociask 2018 Fall

With his humble beginnings in the small farming area of Parkrose, Oregon, Roy Simmons never dreamed that he would have a distinguished career in aviation.

A past chairman of Helicopter Association International (HAI) and past president of Columbia Helicopters, Simmons has received many accolades over the years, including HAI’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 1999. With more than 5,000 hours of total flight time between his military and civilian service, Simmons has held FAA commercial pilot, rotorcraft, single-engine land, instrument, and instructor ratings, in addition to type ratings in Boeing Vertol 107-II, Sikorsky S-61, and Sikorsky S-58 helicopters. 

Early Life

Simmons was born May 22, 1936, in Portland, Oregon. The country was still recovering from the Great Depression and times were tough. “My parents owned an acre of land, and I recall we always had a big garden,” says Simmons. “During World War II, my parents loaned out some of the land to local families to grow victory gardens. They saved a little money during the recovery and built a house.” 

Sadly, Simmons’s father passed away when he was only 11. His mother worked hard to support her son, working as a bookkeeper for several companies before becoming a registered nurse.

During his senior year of high school, his mother lost her job. Because Simmons had enough credits to graduate, he took a job in a lead fishing-sinker factory, attending school in the mornings and working in the afternoon and on Saturdays.

Simmons attended Portland State College from 1954 to 1956, majoring in business and technology with a minor in accounting. “While attending college, I worked part-time during the summer months for Warren Northwest Paving Company, driving pickup trucks and trailers,” he says.

Military Service

After college, Simmons’s attention turned to aviation. From 1957 to 1958, he attended naval flight school as a cadet in Pensacola, Florida, where he received fixed-wing and helicopter training. Simmons then served in the US Marine Corps from 1958 to 1963, leaving active duty with the rank of captain.

Simmons flew both helicopters and airplanes in various squadrons in the United States, overseas in Japan, and aboard carriers in the South Pacific. “My overseas tour of duty was spent in Okinawa,” Simmons says. “It was an interesting assignment, as I was assigned to a marine observation squadron, flying both helicopters (the HOK-1 [later designated as the OH-43D]) and fixed-wing (the Cessna OE-1 [later designated the O-1B]). We were the only marine aviation unit on the island supporting a marine division. Our mission was flying search and rescue with the helicopters and using the airplanes for flying aerial observers and forward air controllers.

“I also spent several months during my 15-month overseas tour of duty on an aircraft carrier. I attended Embarkation Officers School, where I learned how to load vehicles, supplies, and aircraft onto navy ships. I was in charge of several shipboard movements during my overseas assignment. In early 1960, I was reassigned to another marine observation squadron at Camp Pendleton, California, helping to train pilots for their upcoming tours of duty overseas.”

Simmons spent the last two years of his active duty at the Marine Corps Air Facility in Santa Ana, California, flying the Sikorsky HR2S-1 (later designated as the CH-347). “At the time, the HR2S was the largest helicopter in the free world,” says Simmons. “It had two Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engines and could carry about 32 troops or several jeeps internally. It had clamshell doors in the nose with a hydraulic ramp for loading vehicles. It was a great instrument helicopter and very stable to fly under instrument conditions.

“However, I was always up on my emergency procedures, as most every flight was an emergency in the making. I spent several nights in the Okefenokee swamps of Florida; made an emergency landing in the desert near Tucson, Arizona; and made a single-engine night GCA [ground-controlled approach] into Fort Ord, California, with 28 troops in the belly. After those incidents, I decided I had all the fun I could handle and asked for release from active duty in 1963.” 

After leaving active duty, Simmons was a member of the US Marine Corps Reserve from 1963 to 1969, drilling in Seattle, Washington. After having attained the rank of major, he left the reserves when the demands of his civilian job became too pressing and included extensive travel time.

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Building an Aviation Pipeline
Jenna Scafuri 2018 Fall

A Florida high school’s solution: a four-year maintenance program for students

With the aviation industry in the grip of a shortage of both pilots and maintenance technicians, officials at Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS) in Sanford, Florida, are preparing students for these in-demand jobs.

The Aviation Maintenance Academy offers SCPS students a chance to learn about aviation before leaving high school. While the academy focuses on fixed-wing aviation, it could serve as a model for the helicopter industry. ROTOR spoke to Jason Wysong, executive director of Education Pathways and Strategic Partnerships for SCPS, for insight on the program.

Why start the academy?

Wysong: The Orlando-Sanford International Airport (KSFB) is an important pillar of the Seminole County economy. In June 2017, meetings with leaders from the airport authority and its anchor business partners clearly established a local need to improve the talent pipeline into the aviation industry.

As a gauge of student and community interest in aviation, the stakeholders partnered to host Aviation Day at the airport on December 9, 2017. The goal for this event was to expose students and parents to different career pathways available within the aviation industry. The event was open to SCPS students and families in grades 4–12, and estimated attendance was more than 2,500. Due to overwhelmingly positive feedback, the steering committee is planning for future annual events.

After nearly three years of research, construction, and procurement, the Aviation Maintenance Academy at Seminole High School began in August 2018 as one of four programs in the school’s new Career Education Building. The high school is located just 4 miles from the airport, so departing and arriving aircraft are regularly visible in the skies above the campus.

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Military Pilot Makes Career Move to Civilian AMT
Allison McKay 2018 Fall

Doug Sena’s experience and passion are what made him stand out as an applicant for Helicopter Foundation International’s (HFI) 2018 Bill Sanderson Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Scholarship. This scholarship is offered by HAI’s Technical Committee to promote the choice of helicopter maintenance as a career. Each AMT scholarship winner gets the opportunity to attend a course in helicopter airframe or engine maintenance offered by manufacturers.

After joining the US Army in May 1985, Sena attended flight school and then the UH-60 Black Hawk transition course in 1986. He was assigned to both the 5th Squadron, 17th US Cavalry Regiment and the 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment. Once he left active service in 1991, he entered the corporate world, becoming a senior scientist working for a Fortune 500 company developing packaging materials.

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Meet Jennifer Mulkern
ROTOR Staff 2018 Fall

Quick Facts:
Located at: Concord, New Hampshire, USA
Current job: Commercial pilot
First aviation job: Flight instructor
Favorite helicopter: Bell 407

Your current role?

I currently fly for JBI Helicopters based out of Pembroke, New Hampshire. We do everything from utility work, to charter work, to agricultural assistance. I mainly fly the Bell 206 and 407 and am currently being trained on the Bell 429.

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Recent Accidents & Incidents
ROTOR Staff 2018 Fall

The rotorcraft accidents and incidents listed below occurred between July 1, 2018, and September 30, 2018. All details were obtained through the official websites listed below, where you can learn more details about each event.

July 2018

Robinson R22
Georgetown, TX, USA
07-02-2018 | NTSB CEN18LA251
2 injuries | Training flight
While in the traffic pattern, pilots heard the low Nr horn activate. The CFI assumed the controls, assessed the situation, and entered an autorotation.

Hughes 369
Pacific Ocean (Majuro, Marshall Islands)
07-04-2018 | NTSB WPR18LA188
2 fatalities | Aerial observation flight
Aircraft impacted water after takeoff from a fishing boat. The helicopter was destroyed by the impact and salt-water immersion.

Bell 47G
Arlington, IN, USA
07-06-2018 | NTSB CEN18FA258
1 fatality | Aerial application flight
While conducting an aerial application flight, aircraft was substantially damaged when it impacted a corn field and experienced a postimpact fire.

Bell 206
Bentley, IL, USA
07-06-2018 | NTSB CEN18LA260
1 injury | Aerial application flight
During flight, pilot noticed a low fuel-pressure indication and entered an autorotation. During touchdown, the helicopter pitched over, damaging main and tail rotors.

MD 369
Hot Springs, SD
07-06-2018 | NTSB GAA18CA399
Nonfatal | External load flight
No summary provided.

GMBH EC135P1
Chicago, IL, USA
07-07-2018 | NTSB CEN18FA259
3 injuries | Air medical flight
During a night VMC flight, helicopter impacted terrain during an autorotation following a dual engine failure. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and main and tail rotor blades.

Robinson R44 Raven I
Kanaš, Slovakia
07-07-2018 | NTSB CEN18WA261
1 fatality | Unknown flight type
Aircraft impacted powerlines during takeoff and was destroyed.

Robinson R44
Williamsburg, VA, USA
07-08-2018 | NTSB ERA18FA187
2 fatalities | Unknown flight type
During a day VMC flight, aircraft impacted a building and was destroyed. Pilot and one building occupant were fatally injured.

Robinson R-44
Okawville, IL, USA
07-08-2018 | NTSB GAA18CA430
Nonfatal | Agricultural flight
No summary provided.

Robinson R44
Rulo, NE, USA
07-09-2018 | NTSB GAA18CA408
Nonfatal | Agricultural flight
No summary provided.

Robinson R-44
Domecko, Poland
07-11-2018 | NTSB CEN18WA268
2 fatalities, 1 injury | Personal flight
Aircraft impacted terrain during flight.

Schweizer 269D
Stewartstown, PA, USA
07-14-2018 | NTSB ERA18LA192
2 injuries | Personal flight
At bottom of approach to landing, aircraft began turning clockwise beyond control of available anti-torque pedal input. Helicopter impacted the ground.

Bell 47J
Franklin, IN, USA
07-15-2018 | NTSB CEN18LA269
1 injury | Personal flight
Aircraft destroyed as a result of an in-flight collision with terrain and post-accident fire.

Bell 206
New Castle, IN, USA
07-16-2018 | NTSB GAA18CA424
Nonfatal | Agricultural flight
No summary provided.

Bell 206
Todd Mission, TX, USA
07-20-2018 | NTSB CEN18LA290
2 injuries | Personal flight
Shortly after takeoff, aircraft began turning to the right, beyond control of available anti-torque pedal input, and impacted terrain. The helicopter sustained substantial damage.

Bell UH 1H
Oakdale, CA, USA
07-24-2018 | NTSB WPR18LA206
1 injury | Firefighting flight
In flight, pilot reported an unusual noise. Aircraft was substantially damaged during a precautionary landing.

Eurocopter AS350 B3
Kobuk, AK, USA
07-25-2018 | NTSB ANC18CA056
Nonfatal | Air taxi flight
No summary provided.

Continental Copters, Inc Tomcat MK5A
Le Sueur, MN, USA
07-26-2018 | NTSB CEN18LA300
1 injury | Agricultural flight
Aircraft experienced loss of engine power during cruise flight. The pilot performed an autorotation to a field. The helicopter was substantially damaged.

August 2018

Bell 47G 3B
Custer, SD, USA
8/2-2018 | NTSB CEN18LA306
1 injury | Training flight
Aircraft experienced an engine power anomaly during attempted landing. Attempts to regain power failed, and aircraft landed in a grassy roadside area. The helicopter rolled to the right after landing and sustained substantial damage to the main rotor.

Brantly B-2
Midland, MI, USA
08-03-2018 | NTSB CEN18LA313
2 injuries | Personal flight
Aircraft sustained an in-flight tail rotor blade separation and impacted terrain during an emergency landing. The helicopter was substantially damaged.

Airbus EC 130 T2
Mullen, NE, USA
08-03-2018 | NTSB CEN18TA314
1 injury | Personal flight
Pilot lost control while maneuvering and impacted terrain. The helicopter sustained substantial damage.

Bell 206
Basin City, WA, USA
08-07-2018 | NTSB WPR18LA214
1 injury | Agricultural flight
Aircraft impacted the ground during spray operations. The helicopter was destroyed by a post-crash fire.

Hughes 369
Honolulu, HI, USA
08-08-2018 | NTSB WPR18LA221
4 injuries | Sight-seeing flight
Aircraft experienced significant inflight vibrations. Pilot executed a power-on autorotation to an emergency landing at a field. The helicopter was substantially damaged.

Bell 412EP
Nakanojo, Japan
08-10-2018 | NTSB ANC18WA065
9 fatalities | Type of flight unknown
No summary provided.

Robinson R22
Ocean City, MD, USA
08-10-2018 | NTSB GAA18CA483
Nonfatal | Type of flight unknown
No summary provided.

Robinson R22
Queenstown, South Africa
08-15-2018 | NTSB WPR18WA225
1 fatality | Game-capturing flight
Aircraft impacted powerlines while in flight. Helicopter was substantially damaged.

Schweizer 300
Kindred, ND, USA
08-16-2018 | NTSB CEN18LA334
1 injury | Personal flight
Aircraft was substantially damaged during a forced landing. During cruise flight, pilot reported hearing a loud “snap,” followed by an uncommanded yaw of the helicopter. Pilot entered an autorotation that terminated with aircraft rolling over onto its side. A post-impact fire ensued and much of the helicopter was destroyed by the fire.

Hughes 369
Riverside, CA, USA
08-17-2018 | NTSB WPR18LA226
2 injuries |Training flight
Aircraft was substantially damaged following a hard landing during a practice autorotation. During the hard landing, the tail boom separated and the main rotor blades contacted the ground. The helicopter spun around, ejecting the student pilot.

BK117
Ulladulla, NSW, Australia
08-17-2018 | ATSB AO-2018-057
1 fatality | Firefighting flight
Aircraft impacted terrain and was destroyed.

Bell 206
Battle Mountain, NV, USA
08-18-2018 | NTSB GAA18CA512
3 injuries | Type of flight unknown
No summary provided.

Eurocopter EC130
Hilo, HI, USA
08-19-2018 | NTSB WPR18TA239
1 injury | Maintenance flight
Aircraft experienced an in-flight separation of its left rear sliding door during a maintenance track and balance flight, damaging the main rotor blades. The pilot performed a precautionary landing to a grass field.

Hughes 369
Granger, TX, USA
08-21-2018 | NTSB WPR18FA232
2 fatalities | Training flight
During planned orientation/recurrency training flight, aircraft struck overhead power lines, impacted the ground and was subsequently destroyed by post-impact fire.

Hughes 369
Ridgway, PA, USA
08-22-2018 | NTSB GAA18CA506
Non-fatal | Type of flight unknown
No summary provided.

Robinson R22
Corvallis, OR, USA
08-24-2018 | NTSB GAA18CA508
Non-fatal | Type of flight unknown
No summary provided.

Bell 212
Dardanelle, CA, USA
08-25-2018 | NTSB WPR18LA242
1 injury | External load flight
During public aircraft operations, pilot encountered unspecified problem and subsequently descended into terrain. The aircraft sustained substantial damage.

September 2018

MD Helicopter 369
Orchard Lake, MI, USA
09-03-2018 | NTSB CEN18LA365
1 injury | Personal flight
Aircraft impacted terrain during takeoff, sustaining substantial damage.

Guimbal Cabri G2
Santa Ana, CA, USA
09-03-2018 | NTSB WPR18LA252
No injuries | Training flight
Aircraft was damaged during unsuccessful practice power-recovery autorotation, rolling onto its left side.

Robinson R44
Domazlicka, Plzen, Skvnany, Czech Republic
09-05-2018 | NTSB CEN18WA376
4 fatalities | Type of flight unknown
Aircraft impacted terrain while maneuvering at low altitude.

Bell 206
Bartica, Guyana
09-10-2018 | NTSB ERA18WA248
Non-fatal | Type of flight unknown
No summary provided.

Robert L. Cooons RW1 (Exp)
Billings, MT, USA
09-12-2018 | NTSB WPR18FA260
1 fatality | Personal flight
Experimental amateur-built helicopter collided with hangar while maneuvering, fatally injuring the sole occupant.

Robinson R44
Honolulu, HI, USA
09-18-2018 | NTSB WPR18LA269
Nonfatal | Air Tour Flight
Following engine malfunction, pilot performed descent as part of precautionary landing and impacted terrain with forward speed, causing substantial damage to aircraft.

Robinson R44
Buttonville, ON, Canada
09-25-2018 | NTSB CEN18WA390
1 fatality | Type of flight unknown
Aircraft impacted terrain while diverting due to deteriorating weather conditions.

Eurocopter AS350
Ruidoso, NM, USA
09-29-2018 | NTSB GAA18CA571
Nonfatal | Type of flight unknown
No summary provided.

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Fall 2018 ROTOR
ROTOR Staff 2018 Fall

About the Cover: Writer/photographer Mark Bennett set out to find some helicopters fighting fires and found the Erickson S-64F Aircrane “Elvis” filling its tank from a pond before using that payload against the Pole Creek Fire, southeast of Salt Lake City, Utah. See what else Mark found in his photo essay, “On the Trail of the Dragon Slayers.” 

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How Problems Get Solved
Jim Wisecup 2018 Fall

In 1914, Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States, said to the National Press Club, “I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow.” In our industry, we should all take this sentiment to heart. Whether you need to borrow some brains or you are willing to share your experience and perspectives to help others, step forward and get involved.

At one point in my career, I was fortunate enough to be in on the ground floor of the introduction of night-vision goggles into US civil aviation. Some of the bright and dedicated individuals who worked to make this happen were Dutch Fridd of Rocky Mountain Helicopters, supported by Russ Spray, our CEO, and Karl Poulsen, VP of Aviation Services; Grant Pearsol, Lynn Higgins, and Lew Olson of the FAA’s Salt Lake City Flight Standards District Office; and Mike Atwood of Aviation Specialties Unlimited. My thanks to them and all the individuals who measurably advanced the level of safety in the helicopter air ambulance sector.

Progress in aviation can sometimes be slow. It takes years to get an aircraft certified or a rule changed. Some issues we have in our industry, like the shortage of pilots and mechanics, didn’t arrive in one day—and it will take more than one day to solve them. Still, when I see what people around the industry are achieving, I am encouraged about our future.

On September 7, 2018, I had the privilege of attending a safety symposium hosted by the Rotary Wing Society of India (RWSI). It was a great event, with representation from all branches of the Indian military and from virtually every civil operator, manufacturer, and industry stakeholder from neighboring countries.

The RWSI is an all-volunteer group headed by Air Vice Marshal K. Sridharan that was formed 20 years ago to promote the safe and efficient use of helicopters in India and surrounding areas. The scope of their work is amazing as they tackle every topic related to the improvement of Indian helicopter operations.

On September 29, HAI cohosted a regional safety conference with the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association (PHPA) in Van Nuys, California. The PHPA is another all-volunteer group of aviation professionals dedicated to the safe and efficient operation of helicopters, this time in Southern California. I have had the pleasure of working with Morrie Zager, PHPA president, and some PHPA members on the issue of helicopter noise in the Los Angeles Basin. The L.A. Area Helicopter Operators Association (LAAHOA), headed by Chuck Street, is another volunteer industry group that is active in Southern California.

PHPA and LAAHOA have been instrumental in finding solutions for noise-sensitive areas around the L.A. Basin, working with representatives from the FAA’s Western-Pacific Regional Office, Robinson Helicopter, local homeowners, and individual pilots. Without their efforts, helicopter operations in the region could become very limited or go away altogether.

Time and again in my career, I’ve seen how individuals can work together for the benefit of all. It’s a reminder that our united efforts can make a difference.

I would encourage all in our industry, regardless of your position, to become involved with groups like these. To paraphrase Wilson: get out there and borrow those brains.

There is so much talent out there, and as aviation professionals, we all have a license to learn. So many are willing to share their knowledge and abilities to improve our industry. Join them!

Cheers,

Jim

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