Group A "Designated Party" Throughout Hearings, May Question
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) started a 4-day public
hearing Tuesday on the Safety of Helicopter Emergency Medical
Services (HEMS) operations, part of the Board's ongoing efforts to
evaluate the factors that contribute to accidents in EMS accidents.
The hearings, which wrap up Friday, are open to public observation,
though the public may not participate.
The NTSB will hear from numerous witnesses who will deal with
all elements of HEMS operations. The format of the hearing will
involve the questioning of several panels. Matt Zuccaro, president
of the Helicopter Association International (HAI) and also Co-Chair
of the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST), is one of three
keynote witnesses who open the hearing with individual
HAI tells Aero-News that Zuccaro will provide an overview of
current and future industry safety initiatives, as well as a list
of issues and action items for consideration by the NTSB.
Well-versed in helicopter EMS operations, Zuccaro was instrumental
in the recent rewrite of the HEMS A021/A050 Op Specs by
facilitating a consensus among HEMS industry leaders and
Accompanied by other HAI staff, Zuccaro will also participate in
the full four days of the hearing as a "designated party." As such,
HAI will be participating in the questioning of the various witness
panels scheduled to appear at the hearing. The witnesses and
designated parties will represent a wide range of EMS-related
communities, including Associations such as HAI, pilots, medical
personnel, HEMS operators, and Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) officials who provide oversight.
In his presentation, Zuccaro will address such HEMS issues and
recommendations as mandatory use of night vision goggles, an all
IFR operating environment, elimination of launch/response times,
study of fatigue factors in HEMS, promotion of risk aversion not
risk exposure, client education programs, appropriate application
of technology, non-punitive safety reporting environments, and
implementation of Safety Management Systems.
HAI says the need to aggressively focus on human factors issues
will be highlighted, to include a recommendation that HEMS risk
assessment and decision making should be the same as other mission
protocols. Also to be discussed, the need to provide a sterile
operating environment for pilots and technicians, absent of undo
pressures, so that any considerations are limited to safe
aeronautical decision making.
The hearing is underway in the Board Room and Conference Center,
at 429 L'Enfant Plaza, SW, Washington, DC 20594. The NTSB
Conference Center is the primary location for the National
Transportation Safety Board's Board meetings, public hearings,
training, public forums, symposiums, and other events. The hearings
are being streamed on the NTSB web site, at the first FMI link