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Entries for November 2010

GOMER: Working in the Gulf of Mexico - Part 2
Article, Photos, & Video by Lyn Burks

Gomer VideoIn my experience, if you would like to see how serious a helicopter operator is about safety, then look no further than its new hire or recurrent pilot training programs. On one hand, there are programs which barely meet the FAA minimums, with their training program loosely packaged between the covers of Part 135 Operations Specifications. On the other, there are operators who go beyond the OpSpecs and fill the training “tool box” with innovative techniques and dedicated people.

By Brad McNally - In 1957, Columbia Helicopters started with one helicopter flying primarily in Oregon.  That first year the company grossed $20,000.  Forty years later the company grossed $100 million (Bernstein, 2009).  Today Columbia Helicopters employs 700 people and has over 20 helicopters operating around the world.  The story of how Columbia Helicopters grew to be one of the premier heavy lift and heli-logging companies, operating the world’s only commercial tandem rotor helicopter fleet starts with its founder Wes Lematta.

Having been invited in to conduct a week’s worth of program evaluation and EVS training by Wojciech Wozniczka, the LPR Deputy Technical Director.  I had the sincere pleasure to work with this tremendously professional EMS group based out of Warsaw, Poland which had been founded in 2000.  The LPR was a result of the consolidation of several independent EMS units to form a single state (country) medical service with the ability to coordinate all care from one single location.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced on Oct 7, 2010, via a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), sweeping new equipment and regulation changes in an effort to enhance the safety of all helicopter operations.  While this action has been expected for many months, there will no doubt be a great deal of debate and political wrangling before any changes are actually put into place.

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