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News > American Eurocopter’s 2008 Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award

American Eurocopter’s 2008 Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award

October 21, 2008

American Eurocopter proudly announces that Dr. Ira Blumen M.D. from the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCAN) has been selected as the winner of the second annual Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award for his tireless work in leading the OSI-HEMS research project.

"Opportunities for Safety Improvement in Helicopter EMS" (OSI-HEMS) is a research project that has brought together over 40 aviation and medical experts to undertake the most comprehensive review of HEMS accidents to date.  The research group represents the diverse backgrounds within the air medical community, including the associations, helicopter operators, manufacturers, the FAA, aviation training and aviation insurance.

This project was conceived after a 2005 AAMS mid-year conference where Dr. Blumen presented a lecture titled "Safety: Evidence-Based Decision Making."   The development and planning stages for the research took over two years.  Vital to the project would be the scope, strength and experience of the research team that would eventually come together.

Hosted by FlightSafety in Dallas, the team has been meeting every two months to conduct root cause analyses on an estimated 120 HEMS accidents dating back to 1998.  Through this research and analysis, concrete recommendations will be made to compare the potential benefits, costs, effectiveness and feasibility of various factors that can prevent many HEMS accidents or reduce the impact of accidents that do occur.  Key to the recommendations will be a unique scoring system that is developed as part of this research protocol.

According to Bill Bryant, an industry consultant and the Chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee that reviewed the nominations and selected the winner, "the Committee also wanted to recognize three other nominees who have exhibited extraordinary efforts in developing safety cultures and systems for their programs:"

1. Enloe FlightCare from Enloe Medical Center in Chico, CA is a single-aircraft hospital-based Part 135 holder that began operations in 1985. Despite its small size, Enloe FlightCare has an extensive safety program and was the third program in the nation to use Night Vision Goggles (NVG's).

2. Mayo Clinic Medical Transport has developed an impressive safety system, including the development of 26 GPS approaches. They are replacing their existing aircraft and already have acquired two new aircraft (EC145's) with single pilot IFR, NVG, EGPWS, Satellite and on-board Radar weather, and Satellite phone capabilities.

3. LifeFlight of Maine/LifeFlight Foundation/EraMED, LLC . LifeFlight of Maine, owned by a consortium of hospitals, has developed a statewide IFR infrastructure through a unique private-public partnership that includes rural hospital helipads, GPS approaches and remote weather reporting.  They are also in the process of upgrading their system to include NVG's.

Marc Paganini, President and CEO of American Eurocopter, stated, "I am very impressed with the level of dedication to safety these individuals and flight programs have demonstrated.  I hope that the entire industry can follow their lead and continue to seek out new and creative ideas to promote safety in the air medical industry."

About American Eurocopter
American Eurocopter is the U.S. subsidiary of Eurocopter, the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world, and EADS North America Holdings, the North American operations of EADS, the second largest aerospace and defense company in the world. American Eurocopter is a helicopter manufacturer and the company markets, sells and supports the broadest range of civil and para-public helicopters offered by any manufacturer. The product line represents the most cost-effective, technologically-advanced helicopters, ranging from light single to heavy twin, serving all markets and missions. American Eurocopter's headquarters and main facility are in Grand Prairie, TX, with a large manufacturing and production facility in Columbus, MS and its West Coast Regional Support Facility in Long Beach, CA.

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