Emily claims she has it.
I think there can be little argument.
Some of you remember at the time I started flying EMS in 1986 I had been flying helicopters for 18 years. Looking around at my peers at the time, I was surrounded mostly by Viet Nam Veterans. The Helicopter EMS business was exploding and competition for flights was fierce.
Some operations pressured their pilots to "just go out and give it a try", meaning go ahead and take off and see what the real weather conditions are.
And the accident statistics reflected how stupid that was...
1987 was a terrible, record-breaking year.
Now I've been flying the air ambulance going on 23 years. I've been flying helicopters longer than most of my fellow workers have been alive and I have the gray hair to prove it.
Emily's post gives you the recent numbers... the past year has been horrible and as an industry we've once again drawn negative attention to ourselves.
As always, many of those accidents happened either at night, in bad weather, or at night in bad weather. And therein lies the answer to the problem so far as I'm concerned.
To make our industry safer we need to remember Nancy Reagan's exhortation...
"JUST SAY NO!"
The flying business has lots of valuable cliches-
There's an old cliche I frequently repeat to our new pilots:
"It's better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than to be in the air wishing you were on the ground."
And those of us with lots of hours in our logbook know just how true that is. When that flight request comes in, those of us with fat logbooks know to listen to our gut-
...Weather iffy? (What's the trend?)
...Are ya tired?
...Just woke up and runnin' mostly on instinct?
JUST SAY NO!
Government agencies are now gonna review last year's accidents and try to come up with resolutions to our problems. When their review is done they will issue recommendations, some of those in the form of new regulations. I'm sure some of those will be valid and necessary. But some of them will cost a ton of money and will run small operators out of business, to the detriment of the small markets they serve. Therefore, some patients will suffer too.
I truly believe most of our safety issues could be resolved if we could, as a group, put peer pressure on one another...
"You want to fly in that? What in the world are you thinking?"
Turning down a flight, for whatever reason, may cost a little money in lost revenue.
Crashing a multi-million dollar machine and killing all aboard costs a ton of money right now, and results in more industry-wide regulation that costs EVERYONE more money in the long run.
And it seems to me such an easy problem to fix:
JUST SAY NO!