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Recommendation issued to: Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Recommendation details
Output No: R20050002
Date issued: 14 March 2005
Safety action status:
Background: Why this Recommendation was developed

Output text

Safety Issue

During consultation during the directly involved parties process regarding issues related to this recommendation, CASA indicated that it would act to:
* Review the requirements for helicopter EMS operations to include consideration for two pilots, or a stability augmentation and/or autopilot system
* Review the special operational and environmental circumstances of helicopter EMS services, particularly with regard to pilot qualifications, training and recency including instrument flight competency
* Review the pilot recency requirements for helicopter EMS operations to ensure that operator check and training processes are focused on the EMS environment.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is continuing to monitor CASA's progress concerning these issues.

Safety Recommendation

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority review it's operators classification and/or it's minimum safety standards required for helicopter Emergency Medical Services operations. This review should consider increasing; (1) the minimum pilot qualifications, experience and recency requirements, (2) operational procedures and (3) minimum equipment for conduct of such operations at night.

 

Initial response
Date issued: 29 August 2005
Response from: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Action status: Monitor
Response text:

CASA has reviewed its previous advice in relation to this matter [provided with the directly involved parties comments to draft occurrence report 200304282] and I am advised that the Authority has no additional comment to provide in response to recommendation R20050002. However, it should be noted that resources to review this action will be allocated in accordance with CASA's reviewed priorities.

For your information, a copy of CASA's initial advice is recorded below.

CASA advice

CASA will:

* Review the requirements for helicopter EMS operations to include consideration for two pilots, or a stability augmentation and/or autopilot system;
* Review the special operational and environmental circumstances of helicopter EMS services, particularly with regard to pilot qualifications, training and recency including instrument flight competency; and
* Review the pilot recency requirements for helicopter EMS operations to ensure that operator check and training processes are focused on the EMS environment.

ATSB response:

On 23 August 2007, the ATSB requested an update from CASA on the status and/or progress of the reviews.

Further correspondence
Date issued: 10 October 2007
Response from: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Response status: Closed - Accepted
Response text:

The following updates the actions previously advised in response to the recommendation:

  • The proposed review of EMS operation crewing and aircraft equipment requirements will take place as part of the re-instated project to finalise Civil Aviation Safety Regulation (CASR) Part 133. As you may be aware, the regulatory review aspects of CASR Part 133 have, under instruction from the CASA CEO [deleted], been on hold for some time. However I can now advise that this project is scheduled to recommence in October 2007, and that this subject matter will be incorporated in the consideration of CASR 1998 Part 133.T.3.

  • CASA has been considering these issues (particularly the special operational and environmental circumstances associated with EMS operations) for some time now as part of the review processes for the introduction of Night Vision Goggles (NVG) into Australian helicopter night operations. As a result of this review we have incorporated helicopter EMS operations as a Permitted NVG Operation in the new NVG Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 82.

This CAO (which is now in effect) empowers appropriately equipped, trained and approved EMS AOC holders to use NVG on their night EMS primary and secondary response taskings. Both CASA and the industry consider this to be a major safety initiative and we will be monitoring its effect over the next twelve months by way of a formal research process.

  • EMS pilot qualifications, training and recency requirements will be included in the CASR Part 133 project consultation and review processes, however I can also advise the (as part of its normal surveillance processes) CASA will continue to review these matters in current operations as well.

Additionally I can advise that pilot qualification, training and recency requirements were also reviewed by both CASA and the industry as part of the consultation processes associated with the previously mentioned NVG implementation project, and that the industry subject matter experts at these meetings included several representatives from AOC holders who conduct EMS operations in both VFR and IFR situations at diverse operational locations.

Summary:

Overall our surveillance indicate a general trend of maturation in the EMS operators within the Australian operational environment with new contracts being let, more advanced helicopters being purchased, and many former single engine turbine operations now also including multi engine/IFR aircraft in their fleet. We also note operators tending to use their single engine aircraft for day operations, or as a stand by aircraft to cover unserviceability, rather than as the primary response aircraft, and whilst this is not the case in all circumstances, it does show an enhanced awareness of these matters is also occurring within EMS operators in general.

 
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Last update 03 April 2012