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FAA Rotorcraft Seminar Looks at Safety from Several Angles

HAI and the FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) hosted a safety seminar for 70 members of the rotorcraft community August 28 at a location in surburban Philadelphia.

Speakers included FAA flight surgeons Harriet Lester and Dominick Zito, who gave an informative talk to help listeners navigate over-the-counter medications and keep their ground time to a minimum. The key message: read the label! Many over-the-counter medications have changed formulations in the past few years. Users can’t just rely on the brand name of the medication to determine what active ingredients are inside.

Bob Eberly of the PHL Tower Quality Assurance Program described the redesign of the PHL airspace and what it means for the helicopter community. Bob Thorson of the FAASTeam presented a review of the latest helicopter accidents.

A team from the U.S. Coast Guard asked the group, “Can you survive a wet ditch?” and then presented survival techniques for these incidents. They recommend staying with the aircraft, if possible, as search-and-rescue teams usually locate wreckage more quickly than a head bobbing in the water. While the Coasties encouraged listeners to carry mirrors or lights to signal rescuers, they added that shooting flares at your rescuers is not recommended.

A highlight of the day was a tour of a nearby AgustaWestland facility that offers manufacturing, maintenance, and overhaul services. The AgustaWestland chief pilot at the facility also gave a presentation on NextGen for helicopters.

After a dinner sponsored by HAI, the evening wrapped up with a presentation on human factors and fatigue by Dr. Katrina Avers of the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute. Her remarks sparked a spirited discussion by attendees on the best ways to combat medical conditions that contribute to fatigue, such as sleep apnea.

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