Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman
I want to thank my fellow Board members for their participation today.
In closing, I'd like to recognize the exceptional effort of the staff of the Safety Board who completed the accident investigation and developed this excellent report; in particular, the staff from the Offices of Aviation Safety and Research and Engineering. Dan Baker, our Central Region Deputy Chief and the accident Investigator-in-Charge, led an amazing team who all deserve recognition; Dr. Bill Bramble, Human Performance Group Chairman; Jason Fedok, Search and Rescue Specialist; and Jodi Reeves, Report Writer, were particularly instrumental to this effort.
While this accident draws attention to the actions and decisions of the individual pilot, more importantly, it highlights the necessity of having thorough and active risk and safety management programs supported by a strong safety culture.
At the time of the accident, the organizational culture of the New Mexico State Police not only allowed, but encouraged, a single individual to conduct a high-risk mission without any semblance of a safety net in place. Sadly, there are no regulatory requirements for New Mexico State Police or other operators of public aircraft to follow, that would have established that essential safety net. Public safety organizations should lead by example – which includes taking a proactive approach to safety and risk management so that their aircrews and those flying with them will be afforded those necessary protections. It is heartbreaking and nothing less than tragic when those we depend on to rescue us are the ones in need of rescuing.
We stand adjourned.