FAA and NTSB react to air medical crashes

Facing heavy pressure to improve helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) safety, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued proposed revisions to HEMS rules on November 21, 2008. The proposals revise rules for weather and flight minimum standards and require additional preflight planning. Comments on the proposals are due in to the FAA by December 15, 2008. The full text of the FAA proposal can be seen at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/E8-27137.htm.

Frustrated that earlier recommendations have yet to be implemented by either the FAA or air medical industry, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced plans for a three-day public hearing on EMS transportation safety issues. The hearing is planned for February 3-5, 2009 at the NTSB’s Washington, D.C., headquarters. A notice and detail about the hearing is posted on the NTSB Web site at http://ntsb.gov/Pressrel/2008/081110.html.

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