Medical helicopter down ...

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Kenny Phillips, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips Cleared for Takeoff

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  2. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Oh man.... horrible.
     
  3. FlySince9

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    OMG look at that debris field! :(

    RIP Heros all...
     
  4. Bell206

    Bell206 Cleared for Takeoff

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    More like shredded. That was a high energy event to get that debris field with that type model aircraft. Rumor is other operators closer to the patient location turned down flight.
     
  5. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I hate to see these. I unfortunately have worked an HMAS crash. These can be tough especially because the crew is often times part of the first responder community. Makes it harder when its people you knew or were close to, and you now have to take care of them.
     
  6. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I have seen that too many times before. Was weather a factor for the turn downs.??
     
  7. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Cleared for Takeoff

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    What was weather like at this time??
     
  8. Bell206

    Bell206 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Agreed. Rumor is this aircraft was located 70+ miles from the pickup which is a long way to go in a saturated market like OH. METARs are all auto and 10 nm away but there was light snow, sub-freezing temps, and low time EMS pilot reported.
     
  9. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Just read a comment on FB from a pilot who said he was fired from this company after 6 months because he wouldn’t fly in hazardous weather. Pretty sure they had the same weather we had with MVFR - IFR and -SN.

    FDRs are standard now so it shouldn’t be too long before a probable cause comes out.
     
  10. retpd2001

    retpd2001 Line Up and Wait

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    RIP. Anyone know who the parent company is?
     
  11. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Survival Flight
     
  12. retpd2001

    retpd2001 Line Up and Wait

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    Saw that, thanks. But I was wondering who owns them, such as Air Methods, etc. Or are they a small local company?
     
  13. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I believe Metro owns them.
     
  14. KRyan

    KRyan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not a lot of people or towns in that part of Ohio. Most of that area is a state forest.
     
  15. Stingray Don

    Stingray Don Pattern Altitude

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    Very tragic. Prayers to the families.
     
  16. retpd2001

    retpd2001 Line Up and Wait

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    Thanks.
     
  17. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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  18. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Don't know what the patient condition was, but that is not part of the go/no go decision. I sure hope the pilot was not pressured to go by the company.

    I worked for a company that wanted the pilots to "go take a look'' to see if the weather really was that bad. I wasn't there very long. Usually companies like this can only get applicants that are low time for the job.

    This whole thing just sickens me.
     
  19. DesertNomad

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    My brother served on medical helicopters in Ohio when he was doing his residency. To this day he refuses to fly in my plane with me. It was not a good experience for him. As I understand it, many of these have a policy of not telling the pilot anything about the patient so as to not influence their go/no-go process.
     
  20. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That is becoming more common in the last few years. But when the medics show up wearing their NBC suits then I really want to know why.
     
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  21. Bell206

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    It's my understanding Survival Flight is a standalone operator with about 12 aircraft to include a fixed wing. Rumor has it AEL and MEdflight (Metro) turned down flight with Medflight located very near patient location at a hospital.

    Also heard Guardian has a missing BE200 out of ANC heading to the southeast. The curse of the 3s.
     
  22. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Yeah I guess they own a different Survival Flight that’s up in Michigan only. This one (accident) appears to be a stand alone.

    https://www.metroaviation.com/project/survival-flight/
     
  23. benyflyguy

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    I’ll preface with I know nothing abllout choppers. Do they typically have and anti-icing stuff??
    At our hospital they only do VFR stuff I believe.
     
  24. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Very few helicopters have that option and even fewer have it installed.

    The only one I know of that is limited FIKI is the S92, but the Rotorcraft Flight Manual prohibits flight into freezing rain or freezing drizzle.

    A Blackhawk driver says they have the systems but the Flight Manual prohibits FIKI.

    I'd be surprised if any light helicopters like the EC-130 or 407 (common EMS use helis) have FIKI or even an inadvertent protection.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
  25. Z06_Mir

    Z06_Mir Pattern Altitude

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    I think that is pretty normal, and good practice. I know a few people that work/fly for various companies and they use some sort of matrix/flow chart to assign numbers to different present risk factors. Things like day/night, good VFR/marginal VFR, terrain, distance, fatigue/duty time etc. One a certain number is reached it's a no-go regardless of if the crew wants to accept it.
     
  26. 3393RP

    3393RP Pattern Altitude

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    While all fatal accidents are tragic, I feel especially moved when a medical flight goes down. The pilot may have made a poor decision, but the other crew members had to share her fate through no fault of their own.

    Those willing to fly HEMS are special people.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
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  27. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That would be called a risk assessment chart. I have had a few flights cancelled because the no go number was reached.

    All the medevac companies I worked for, any crew member could cancel a flight for any reason. On weather flights I would advise the crew before the flight and let then know what the weather was doing and what to expect. I did not want them worrying about the weather and possibly get distracted from the patient. I cancelled one flight because of exhaustion. I had been out from first call out at 5pm, second call out at 2am, and the third flight would have ended around 9am, 5 hours after the end of my scheduled duty time.
     
  28. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Last I knew there weren't any helos that were actually approved FIKI. It was a big topic of discussion because our local HEMS crash was ruled due to encounter with icing.
     
  29. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Well, a disclaimer in that these are my opinions and don’t represent my company’s. A “go take a look” company philosophy is a bad thing and yes, I wouldn’t work for one like that either. That would be one that is barely scrapping by and probably is hiring inexperienced pilots. Now, that philosophy as pertains to a pilot’s personal decision making, isn’t necessarily a bad thing but having said that, it can’t be applied all the time either. Example, just a few days ago I had to abort with a “go take a look”plan. I had completely legal weather (10 SM OVC024) for my destination and what I believe was a very good chance at flight completion. Problem is, I had about 30 miles of mountains to cross with no wx reporting in between. No telling what’s in there so you go take a look to find out. Within 3 minutes of take off I said something to the effect “this might very well be an abort.” Over the next 2-3 minutes myself and crew discussed what we were seeing, which of course wasn’t promising. Finally, having reached what I believed to be our company mins...and a bit of trace rime, I called the magic word. “Aborting due to ceilings and vis. Call flight ops.”

    I’ve said it on here til I’m blue in the face, you’ve got to know when to tap out. You can’t teach it, you can’t read it in a book, it’s comes from getting yourself backed into a corner enough times to know whether or not you can find a way through, or go home and “live to fight another day.”

    Speaking of pilot experience. No idea about the background of the young lady in question so this doesn’t pertain to her but experience is everything in this job. Most people on POA would look at 2,000 hrs as being a pretty salty pilot. That means nothing if they spent their time doing cookie cutter instructing traffic patterns and fair weather tours. This isn’t a learn as you go and get experience with a mentor next to you. While you need to be cautious and take it easy say your first six months, you really need to be ready for challenging single pilot ops from day one. In my opinion, you cannot do this job safely, if you didn’t either have a military background or a civilian background with a variety of challenging flying. For civs, that’s really utility stuff with maybe some police and oil and gas mixed in.

    Don’t know the company and don’t know their safety culture but that pilot’s comment on FB doesn’t paint a very good picture. Could be just a disgruntled pilot who was fired for other reasons (wouldn’t be the first) though. Accepting a flight with two other turn downs (if that was the case) would not look good either. Nothing wrong with that and I’ve done it on several occasions but they were situations where I knew darn well we could get it done legally and safely. Based on what I saw on the computer yesterday AM, I’m not so sure it was the correct decision as far as the weather goes.
     
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  30. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    There ought to be a mechanism to do away with that kind of 'helo shopping'. This has been a mechanism in more than one hems wreck. Company #1 turns it down, company #2 takes a look (RTBs) and finally company #3 tries to squeeze through the pass. Meanwhile, 90 minutes have elapsed since the first call for medevac was made and the patient could have been either ground transported or moved to an airport for a fixed wing or IFR operator to pick him up.
     
  31. Velocity173

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    Not sure what Black Hawk pilot told you that but that’s incorrect. The Black Hawk was actually the first helicopter designed from the onset to be operated in moderate icing. They don’t use the acronym FIKI. That’s an FAA thing. It’s approved up to moderate icing and equipped with main rotor deice, tail rotor deice, windshield anti-ice, pitot static heat (obviously), engine anti-ice and engine inlet anti-ice.

    Flown Hawks in icing several times in Europe and the system (if maintained) works well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
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  32. Bell206

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    I believe they they have the AOC and manage the day to day stuff with a small company out of Missouri providing support services.
    http://survivalflightinc.com/
     
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  33. Bell206

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    Most EMS ops have a "three to go" rule where 1 person can cancel flight. Don't know the details for this one though.

    This aircraft only had engine anti-icing. Most small and medium civil helicopters don't have anything else and usually have specific conditions in which to fly at temps below 40F. Some medium aircraft have heated windshields and recently one OEM Leonardo (Agusta) came up with a ice system for the blades on a few models. On large rotorcraft there are several systems with RIPS (Rotor Ice Protection System) being one of that is widely used. However, I know of no civil helicopter that is approved to fly in freezing rain or super-cooled droplets even with RIPS.

    Personally I've seen ice form by simply flying through a cloud edge in freezing conditions.

    Unfortunately, until helicopter EMS ops are "removed" from under the veil of the Airline Deregulation Act there is no method to stop this or the high rates they charge. The FAA has tried via their HEMS Initiative, States have tried, and so on. In my opinion, the only way to to get ahead of this is to limit scene work to day/VFR ops only. That would have taken care of 85% of the previous accidents.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
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  34. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Nothing wrong with “helicopter shopping.” Plenty of bases are in areas that are fogged in while one 20 miles away might be in the clear. You might have a base that’s been called for a scene but they’re restricted because of no NVGs. Might have a base that’s called and is VFR only but an IFR one right down the road can take it.

    If the closest base can’t go and the referring facility doesn’t mind waiting a few more minutes, so be it. That’s their call. It’s not like it puts pressure on the succeeding pilots to accept anyway. If anything, it’s a perfect excuse not to fly.
     
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  35. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    With 30+ years to fix itself, the industry has proven that they are not capable of doing so. Add to that the questionable business practices allowed (promoted) under the deregulation act and it is time for a legislative fix.
     
  36. 3393RP

    3393RP Pattern Altitude

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    Thanks for the insight.

    Occasionally I am awakened in the middle of the night by one of the CareFlite 109s passing over my house.

    I always send thoughts wishing the crew protection and that they will complete their mission safely.
     
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  37. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Just to add to what Zeldman said, it’s a risk assessment matrix or “RA.” Used to be optional but in 2016 became an FAA mandate.

    Not a big fan of their efficacy myself. You can’t put a one size fits all approach to a go / no go. The accident in question was most likely within RA acceptance criteria, especially since their operations personnel (OCC) approved it. In fact, I’d be willing to bet if you did an RA for every HAA fatal accident in history, the vast majority of them would be classified on the RA as “low risk.”
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
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  38. frfly172

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    Such a sad loss,RIP.
     
  39. retpd2001

    retpd2001 Line Up and Wait

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    As far as one company turning down a flight and another taking it, the company I worked for added no-go points to the matrix if it had already been turned down. Personally I rarely took a flight that had been turned down by another pilot.
     
  40. Velocity173

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