Focus on Helicopter Safety and a Florida Helicopter Lawyer Who is Also a Helicopter Enthusiast
There are lots of different ways to enjoy Bay County and the surrounding Florida Panhandle region. One of the most exciting ways to experience our region, even for people who have lived here all their lives, is by a helicopter tour. Helicopters are also one of Attorney Wes Pittman's passions. He appreciates the view from the air and the unique adventure of a helicopter trip, but he also knows that negligent operation, defective parts, and a range of other issues can lead to a tragic helicopter accident. Attorney Pittman's personal expertise makes him especially well-positioned to serve as a Panama City helicopter accident lawyer when something goes horribly wrong.
NTSB Includes Helicopter Safety on List of 2014 Priorities
Each year, the National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB") issues its Most Wanted List, setting forth its top advocacy priorities for the year. 1 of the 10 items on this year's list is: "Address Unique Characteristics of Helicopter Operations." The NTSB explains the focus by noting that there are hundreds of helicopters in operation each day, with the industry continuing to see overwhelming growth.
Helicopters are used for law enforcement, medical transport, tourism, news gathering, to support oil and gas operations offshore, in search and rescue operations, and for a range of other civil-side applications. Each use poses its own unique challenges, and several of these applications require operating in difficult and dangerous conditions.
Since 2004, there have been more than 1,600 accidents involving helicopters being used for commercial purposes (including tourism), in search and rescue, and as air ambulances. These crashes claimed more than 500 lives and left an additional 274 people seriously injured. The NTSB notes that these numbers will likely grow without concerted efforts to improve helicopter safety, efforts that require awareness and action by key stakeholders, including helicopter manufacturers and owners, training and education groups, and regulatory agencies.
The NTSB proposes a number of safety measures, including:
- Calling on operators to develop and implement safety management systems and risk management practices that include policies addressing inspection and maintenance issues.
- Use of duty-time rules for maintenance personnel to ensure maximum alertness.
- Formalized dispatch and monitoring procedures.
- Creation of flight risk evaluation programs.
- Pilot training that includes preparation for weather changes and autorotation (a practice used in case of engine malfunction).
Additionally, the group calls for the use of crash-resistant flight recorders to assist in understanding what happened when an accident does occur and developing ways to prevent recurrence.
FAA Issues New Rule Calling for Major Improvements in Helicopter Safety
The proposals made in connection with the Most Wanted List come after more than 10 years of helicopter accident investigations that led to the issuance of more than 200 safety recommendations. The NTSB is not the only group focusing on helicopter safety in 2014. In February, as detailed in a press release, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a final rule requiring all helicopters (specifically including air ambulances) to follow stricter rules and procedures, especially in inclement weather.
The rule calls for improvements in communications, requires additional pilot training, and mandates the presence of added on-board safety equipment. As a whole, the requirements contained in the FAA rule are being called the most significant improvements in decades for the field of helicopter safety.
A Helicopter Lawyer and True Helicopter Enthusiast
Attorney Pittman is a devoted helicopter enthusiast, making helicopter safety an issue of great personal importance. When accidents do occur, he is committed to serving as a Northwest Florida helicopter crash attorney and to helping the injured and grieving recover compensation from those at fault.