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How About If Nobody Gets Hurt Today?

Where in the World Is Stan Rose Now?

Stan Rose has been taking the HSA safety message on the road recently, even more than usual.

First up was the Syracuse Regional Helicopter Safety Stand-Down on Sep. 21. Our venue was a spotless hanger, provided to HSA and the FAASTeam by Million Air Syracuse, an FBO at Syracuse Hancock International Airport. They were gracious hosts, and we appreciate their support of the local aviation community.

The pilots, operators, and maintainers who attended the Syracuse show had the opportunity to hear from Tony James, who spent 27 years as an FAA air safety investigator. Tony was the lead on many high-profile accident investigations, including United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed near Shanksville, PA, on 9/11. Matt Rigsby from the FAA also spoke.

Stan next spoke at the 3rd Civil Helicopter Southeast Asia Summit 2018, Sep. 27-28 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The conference was organized by OPPLANDD, co-organized by Asia Sky Group, Douglas Cavannagh & Associates, and supported by the Helicopter Safety Alliance. More than 100 delegates discussed the emerging helicopter industry in Southeast Asia.

At the conference, Stan moderated a panel discussion, "Opportunity and Challenges in the SEA HEMS Market." He also made two presentations: "The Development, Growth, and Hazards Associated with Air Medical Programs" and "Safety in Small Helicopter Operations."

Next, Stan spoke at the 2018 International Rotorcraft Safety Conference Oct. 23-25 in Hurst, Texas. Sponsored by the FAA, safety in small operations was a special focus of the conference, as small operations account for the majority of rotorcraft accidents. Stan spoke to the audience on “Reaching Small Helicopter Operators to Promote Safety.”

Next up: tomorrow, Nov. 9, Stan and the gang will be at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Fremont, CA, for the Bay Area Helicopter Safety Stand-Down. The fun begins at 0730 with breakfast and registration. It's not too late for you or a buddy to register at We've got a great set of speakers for you.

If you would like to host an HSA Helicopter Safety Stand-Down or help in some other way, please contact HSA at We appreciate any and all assistance! 
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Pilots: How Are Your Blade Tips Looking?

Helicopters run into fixed objects all the time, and the first part to make contact is generally the tips of the rotor blades. We taxi into poles, hangars, walls, trees, and lights with disturbing frequency.

Want to know why? It might not be what you think. The common wisdom is "I didn't see it." I would correct that: you did see the object, but you didn't realize that it would eventually be in the path of your blade tips.

Relax, you're not a defective pilot. This mind-set is an inadvertent result of the way we were all taught to fly. When you started in helicopters, chances are it was in a very small helicopter with a relatively small rotor and you were seated very close to the rotor mast.

The widest part of the rotor was at 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock, conveniently off your left or right shoulder. This became a reference you didn't even think about.

As you progressed, you got to larger, more capable aircraft with bigger rotors. Your seat moved farther from the mast, but because your pilot mind is like mine, kind of like the roach motel (things go in but they don't come out), you still associate 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock with the view over your left and right shoulder. Looks the same, but it's not!

In a 206, you can be 6-plus feet in front of the rotor mast. As your ship gets bigger, your position in relation to the rotor mast gets larger. To spare you the horror of doing math in public, here is the quick answer: as you move away from the rotor mast, your seat is no longer at 9 and 3 in the rotor disc. It's more like 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock.

What does that mean? 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock (the widest part of the rotor disc) is actually BEHIND you and farther to our left or right.

But when you look over your right or left shoulder, IT LOOKS THE SAME and every time you have taxied by something without hitting it, you have inadvertently reinforced the idea that it is the same.

Before you run out of room and luck, modify your behavior. Figure out where the wide spot is now in your current aircraft. Pull 9 and 3 out of the roach motel, and think about where your blade tips are from time to time.

Monthly Safety Briefing: Fatigue Risk Management

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety reports that when we put our clocks forward during a spring weekend, traffic accidents on the following Monday increase by a whopping 23 percent. When we change the clocks back in the fall, pedestrians walking after 6 pm are more than three times as likely to be struck and killed.

If these dramatic results can be seen after only one hour of difference in sleep patterns, what do we need to do when we have bigger changes? In your hangar, what do you do when a pilot or AMT has a bad night because of a sick child or other disruption?

 A known causal factor in accidents, mental fatigue, which may include sleepiness, is a general decrease of attention and ability to perform complex, or even quite simple, tasks with customary efficiency.

Mental fatigue often results from loss or interruption of the normal sleep pattern and is therefore of great concern to pilots and maintainers, who are frequently required to work early in the morning or at night.

Here are some resources with more information about fatigue and recommendations for how you can mitigate the risk it presents to your operation:

Cold-Weather Maintenance

What do you think are two important factors in efficient maintenance? Two of the big ones are being able to stay on the workface for the entire task and the ability to limit distractions. If you think about cold weather maintenance, you quickly realize that it interferes with both of these factors.

How long does it take for your fingers to get cold enough that you lose the ability to feel small parts or fine movements? What about your feet? It's hard to think about the task at hand while your feet are freezing.

If your hands are getting colder and your feet are freezing, what do you think is happening to your core temperature? Probably dropping. You want to limit distractions but at this point, your body is providing major distractors. You have to concentrate much harder on the task just to get simple things done. Want an example of what low temperatures do to your maintenance efficiency? How much harder is it to safety wire at 20 degrees F than it is at 75 degrees F?

I can fix that, you say, I'll just go inside or get in my truck to get warm. And just like that, you're away from the workface. Zero maintenance gets done while you are getting warm.

And in more bad news, after the first time you take a break to get "warm," the interval between warming breaks gets smaller. It's a vicious circle.

Every time you leave the work face, you have to have a plan to pick up the job where you left off -- or ideally, a few steps BEFORE where you left off. Because of the distraction of trying to stay warm, the whole job seems to take longer. And it does take longer.

We haven't even talked about how cold affects fatigue. We have all heard the comment: "It was so cold out that for the first half of the preflight, I was afraid I'd die. Then in the second half of the preflight, I was afraid I wouldn't." I have lived in cities where, when the weather got real crappy, the only people working were the snowplow guys and the Part 121 outdoor maintenance folks.

We don't make any money when the ship is down, so we maintain the conditions that nature hands us. Take some time before the weather gets fierce to take stock of your boots, gloves, foul-weather gear, and personal cold-weather operating procedures to make sure you can maintain safely and effectively when weather conditions turn against you.

Join the Helicopter Safety Alliance
At the Syracuse Regional Helicopter Safety Stand-Down, Bruce Webb of Airbus, top left, delivers a powerful presentation on aircraft control, "What's Your Attitude?" to pilots and operators. Top right, Mick Welfare explains to attendees how GPMS equipment provides HUMS reliability and accuracy at an affordable price.

Nov. 9: Bay Area Regional Helicopter Safety Stand-Down
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