Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
An organization providing here-ambulance services in southwestern British Columbia temporarily suspended landings at seven Hospital Heliport’s in the area, due to Transport Canada’s (TC) concern of the aircraft are not properly designed for night flights and populated urban areas.
Helijet International Inc. which has been contracted to provide medevac helicopters for British Columbia air ambulance services from past 18 years, began landing the choppers at local airports or Helipad’s from which patients are transported to hospitals by ground ambulance. The company states that TC withdrew an exemption that allowed the company to leave the hospitals directly.
“Recent inspections discovered areas of noncompliance with the requirements for the helicopters to be able to manoeuvre her during engine failure while operating in built-up urban areas,” TC regional Communications Ofc. Sau Sau Liu says. “For heliport operations, the aircraft must be configured in accordance with all the manufacturer’s specifications for vertical operations,” Liu adds. “One of several specific requirements is a vertical visibility pilot door, which improves the pilot’s ability to see the landing area immediately below the aircraft in the event of an emergency landing.”
The facilities at which Helijet suspended direct landings include Vancouver General Hospital, B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, Surrey Memorial Hospital, and Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, although the Company or ported Lee has a stellar overall safety record, the crew of a Helijet Sikorsky S76C copter temporarily lost control of the aircraft last November 15, 2015 while on their way from Vancouver International Airport to Tofino/Long Beach Airport. A subsequent inspection of the chopper revealed that there was oil on the airframe and on the rotor blades. There were no injuries or fatalities, but the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) later determined that the aerodrome had not been certified for night landings.
Although the aircraft was back in medevac service after further inspection, it was taken out of commission again after the discovery that its main rotor transmission had been exposed to excessive torque during the Vancouver-Tofino flight.
I was very surprised that there were substandard helicopters being used during rescue and emergency pickups anywhere in Canada. I thought we had better standards than that! I guess not.
The only way we can stay on top of all this is to contact your government and see where upgrading standards can be applied and we can go back to being better than a third world country.
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
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Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.