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Sat, May 26, 2007

HAI Sponsors Two-day Air Tour Safety Forum In Honolulu

Focus On Air Tour Safety

Helicopter Association International (HAI) wrapped up a two-day Air Tour Safety Forum in Honolulu, HI last weekend. More than 120 invited attendees participated in the event, which included HAI president Matt Zuccaro, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) representatives from all branches, staff from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and air tour operators in the State of Hawaii.

The conference brought together air tour operators and regulators under the sponsorship of HAI. This initiative provided a forum to review and enhance safety and operating environments for air tours, and included an historical review of air tour operations in Hawaii, as well as an analysis of recent air tour incidents.

HAI president Matt Zuccaro, joined by Jim Ballough, Director of FAA Flight Standards, moderated the sessions and workshop, supported by Jeff Guzzetti of the NTSB, Larry Wilkinson of the FAA, Honolulu office, along with numerous presenters.

Zuccaro opened the forum with welcoming remarks and spoke about industry safety efforts including the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST). One and a half days of presentations followed, covering such important topics as safety overviews of Hawaii, Alaska, and Grand Canyon air tour operations, the NTSB Hawaii Air Tour report, Pilot and Maintenance Human Factors, enhanced weather reporting technologies, Safety Management Systems, accident investigations protocols, FAA Part 135 Operational Control, the National Air Tour Safety Standards Final Rule, an ADS-B proposal for Hawaii, and the Air Tour Management Program for National Parks.

The presentations were followed by an open discussion workshop involving all in attendance.  The workshop focused on a closer working relationship of all the parties involved, identification of issues and concerns that need to be addressed, and plans that will facilitate achieving solutions. As a result of the forum an industry/regulatory working group will be established to review the relative data, and formulate solutions to the issues and concerns raised in the forum.  The efforts of the working group will be focused on the common goal of enhancing the safety and operational environment in which air tours are conducted in the state of Hawaii. Additional meetings are planned to continue the work started at the forum.

"Based on the activities conducted at the forum, comments received from all those in attendance, coupled with the resulting initiatives that were developed, I can say with confidence the forum was a definite success, and only the beginning to what I envision will be a continuing effort towards achieving goals mutually shared by the helicopter industry, FAA, and NTSB."

FMI: www.rotor.com

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