Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Monday, October 23, 2017

Helicopter Safety Alliance Hosts Midwest Regional Safety Stand-Down Program

By Carmelo Turdo
The Helicopter Safety Alliance held its Midwest Regional Safety Stand-Down program Friday at the new Maryland Heights Community Center in St. Louis County.  The day-long event provided an opportunity for managers, pilots and maintainers from small helicopter operators to meet and discuss their common operational safety issues and share their best practices.  In addition to the presentations and breakout sessions, representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Spidertracks flight management systems and Frasca Flight Simulation provided information about their products and services. 
The lobby display included a one-of-a-kind 1933 Flagg F-13 on loan from the nearby
Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum

Spidertracks produces a flight management system that assists operators in
tracking and scheduling aircraft and crews at all times
Frasca Flight Simulation continues a long tradition of providing state-of-the-art
flight training systems to helicopter operators
Presentation topics included FAA Compliance Philosophy, including a discussion about commercial drone operations, with the FAA's Phil Dixon.  A review of two 2015 air ambulance helicopter accidents, presented by Randall Ottinger, the FAA's Principle Operations Inspector at Air Evac Life Team (not involved n the accidents), examined the crashworthiness of the unmodified plastic fuel cells in the Airbus line of emergency response helicopters.  Chris Young, of CY Consulting, addressed the benefits of using  Safety Management Systems (SMS) by small helicopter operators.  The FAA's Sara Newton held an open forum on medical certification issues brought by the participants. Throughout the morning sessions, real-world situations were used to illustrate the points made whenever possible.   

The afternoon sessions offered topics targeted specifically to managers, pilots and maintainers. Presenters included Fred Harms, former FAA Safety Inspector, Bill Hopper, Owner of HeliSat, Stan Rose, CEO of Helicopter Safety Alliance, and those mentioned from the morning session.  A staple of any maintainer safety program is Bill Hopper's version of the Human Factors "Dirty Dozen," compiled by Gordon Dupont during his service at Transport Canada before becoming CEO of System Safety Services.  As listed by Dupont (see previous link for details), they are: 1. Lack of Communication; 2. Complacency; 3. Lack of Knowledge; 4. Distraction; 5. Lack of Teamwork; 6. Fatigue; 7. Lack of Resources; 8. Pressure; 9. Lack of Assertiveness; 10. Stress; 11. Lack of Awareness; 12. Norms.  Sprinkled liberally with real-world examples, Bill Hopper's interactive session effectively heightens the awareness of the weakness of the human condition and how to avoid the potentially disastrous consequences of human failure due to maintenance errors.

The Aero Experience thanks the FAA and all who participated in this program for their dedication and willingness to work together to maintain safe and efficient Midwest Aviation operations.  Check the FAA Safety Team website for educational materials and events in your area.     

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