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Speeches

Board Meeting: Aircraft Accident Report: Loss of Control at Takeoff, Air Methods Corporation, Airbus Helicopters AS350 B3e, N390LG, Frisco, Colorado, July 3, 2015 - Closing Statement
T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, PhD, MPH
NTSB Boardroom and Conference Center, Washington, DC
3/28/2017

In closing, I would like to recognize the hard work of the NTSB staff in this investigation and in producing this report, and to thank my fellow Board Members for their very thoughtful and lively participation in the process.

I also would like to recognize Sean Payne, whose presentation today on Flight Recorders was his first in a Board meeting. As you have heard, access to flight data helps identify safety issues and make related recommendations for the benefit of the traveling public, a concern represented in recommendations reiterated today as well as crash resistant flight recorder. Chihoon Shin’s presentation on the helicopter’s dual hydraulic system was also his first presentation in a Board meeting. Thank you, Sean and Chihoon, and well done.

For pilots, following procedures is a critical defense against error. But humans are fallible; regulators and industry must consider the best defense when, not if, an error occurs.

Today’s recommendations, if acted upon, will provide helicopter pilots with an alert when hydraulic pressure in the tail rotor hydraulic circuit is insufficient. They will also ensure hydraulic boost to the pedal controls through design improvements to the AS350’s dual hydraulic system.

Other recommendations, if acted upon, will result in crashworthiness guidelines for those who purchase, lease, and contract for helicopters.

Air medical consumers, at present, might base their operational decisions on the mistaken belief that all new or recently manufactured helicopters meet the most recent crashworthiness standards, which include crash resistant fuel systems.

Air medical transport industry guidelines will make consumers aware of current crashworthiness standards.

Such guidelines could achieve the retrofit of systems and equipment to increase crashworthiness for helicopters used in air medical transport more quickly than through regulation alone. The guidelines could also be updated as new crashworthiness technologies become available.

Together these safety improvements will better protect the flight crews and the patients who are involved in helicopter emergency medical services.

Thank you and we stand adjourned.

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