Safety & Training

By By Joy Finnegan, Editor | July 1, 2010
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On June 8 and 9 we held our second Rotor & Wing Safety & Training Summit in Denver, Colo. I want to take a moment to say thank you to all of our speakers, moderators, panelists, sponsors and attendees. Sponsors included Eurocopter, CAE, Televent, Aero Dynamix, Winslow LifeRaft, AeroSimulators, ITT, HotSeat Chassis, Sikorsky and Frasca. The event want very well and we look forward to doing it again next year and making it even better.

One of our goals was to have a combination of industry leaders and topic-related experts on each panel. In this way, we were able to hear from the theoretical side of these topics and to hear about the actual use of them in practice by those operating helicopters everyday.

For example, we had NASA expert Immanuel Barshi talk about the latest in human-machine interface in regards to human factors in the cockpit of helicopters. On the same panel we had Tim Rolfe, chief training captain S-92 Bristow Eurpoean operations, talk about how he integrates an understanding of human factors into the training of S-92 pilots at Bristow.


Sharon Desfor of HeliValue$ gave information and guidance about new aircraft purchases and what to consider for future resale value. And Rotor & Wing columnist Lee Benson, who has overseen many new aircraft purchases while chief pilot at the LA County Fire Department, give his firsthand account of how to get the best platform for the job required and pitfalls to avoid.

Columnist Steve “Elroy” Colby moderated our panel on technology in the cockpit. Speakers included BJ Raysor of Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Dennis Small from EraMED in Maine and Matt Murphy from the Texas Department of Public Safety. This panel provided information about cutting-edge programs and equipment they are utilizing today to improve safety.

There were many value added programs as well. Chris Baur and Grady Boyce of Hughes Aerospace, with FAA’s Tom Salat, gave a workshop on performance-based navigation (PBN) and what is in store for the future of WAAS, ADS-B and other advancements in navigation. How will helicopter operators benefit from these developments? Their explanations, understanding of the future and answers to that question were amazing.

The International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) briefed attendees on the efforts the group is making to reduce the helicopter accident rate by 80 percent by 2016. Sue Gardner of the FAA and IHST program director and Fred Brisbois of Sikorsky spoke about those efforts and encouraged the attendees’ participation on the team. Other IHST members in attendance included Terry Palmer of FlightSafety Intl, who heads the training committee, and BJ Raysor.

Last but certainly not least, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt took time out of his incredibly busy schedule to come to the summit and give our keynote address. It was an impressive way to kick off the summit. Babbitt spoke eloquently about the unique challenges of the helicopter realm. He praised efforts already made by so many in the industry to actively improve safety awareness and to implement safety programs. One key theme of his remarks was the need for professionalism and improved decision-making skills, not only in helicopter operations, but across the aviation industry in general. You can read more about Babbitt’s remarks on page 12 and the panels are featured throughout our Rotorcraft Report section. Videos from the event can be seen on our just-launched Safety & Training Channel.

Thanks to all who came and made the event so great!

The Staff and Writers of Rotor and Wing would like to extend our deepest condolences to the families and colleagues of the fallen crews of the lost U.S. Air Force HH-60G combat rescue helicopter downed on June 9, 2010 in the Sangin district of Afghanistan while performing their perennial, heroic, life-saving mission in harms way. These crews embody and immortalize their motto, “…these things we do, that others may live.”


* 1st Lt. Joel C. Gentz, 25, of Grass Lake, Mich. Combat Rescue Officer, 58 RQS Nellis AFB, Nev.

* Staff Sgt. David C. Smith, 26, of Eight Mile, Ala. Flight Engineer, 66th RQS, Nellis AFB, Nev.

* Tech. Sgt. Michael P. Flores, 31, of San Antonio. Pararescueman, 48th RQS Davis Monthan AFB, Ariz.

* Senior Airman Benjamin D. White, 24, of Erwin, Tenn. Pararescueman, 48th RQS Davis Monthan AFB, Ariz.


The USAF has not released the names of the surviving injured.

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