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When Is It Ok To Be A Cowboy?


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Rescue flights are a different matter all together.

A professional pilot should have the decision-making skills to decide if he should endanger someone's life in an attempt to lower the danger that (or another) person may be in, without operating in a reckless or negligent manner.

 

 

As professional pilots we must attempt to minimize the inherent risk to an acceptable minimum,

and do our job in a manner that cannot be construed as reckless or negligent.

very well said

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A true story without some details. I was flying an Astar for an oil company whose roads were washed out to their plant when a call came from another helicopter in the area to see if someone was close to the -----bridge. He had been contacted by forestry and they had an urgent need of help. As I was close(about 2 miles away) I offered to help with the authorization of my paying customer. Upon landing people told me that two people in a car had attempted to drive thru the flooding waters on the road to the bridge thinking it was shallow water. Their car was washed off the road and nowhere insight, the two people in their 50's were holding onto trees along road allowance. There was a forestry four by four in the water with its winch wound out as far as could go and a brave fella on the end of the line but not even close to reaching the stranded pair. I was put on the spot big time, had trees and no long line.....so I asked if anyone had a rope,,,all they had was crappy yellow rope. Found a 20 lb fire extinguisher in back of truck, unloaded the customer's groceries, removed doors and such. Plan was to set one end of rope to stranded people in trees and other to foresty truck and have them pulled out by hand.....but the ropewas not long enough, only 100 feet. So dragged(two attempts necessary due to rushing water) the two folks thru the water to waiting rescuers. Landed, put doors on and medevacced them to hospital, the lady stopped breathing enroute but foresty fellow gave her mouth to mouth and got her going. They were blue as blue gets but lived. RCMP sent a letter of thanks to company, Ops manager and Chief Pilot said good job. Fellow pilot said was crazy to use yellow rope,,,,guess he didn't know the folks in the water. It is pretty easy to say you should use a snap on wrench but when all you have is a crescent and you only need it for a hammer. But I know had the other helicopter not contacted me and we worked at the task with calm asssertiveness then two peope would have died.

 

Seems to me that the person in question improvised in a situation which did not cause damage to persons or property and saved a life. If I need to have an approved stretcher kit to do a medevac and save a life yet refuse because I don't have one and the person dies,,,,would that not be negligent? I know of a case in a National Park I was flying for as an approved rescue pilot that the parks people were sued for not going to search for two men in question, yet the reason the could not search was because I refused to fly in the particular area due to high winds. The two men died hours before we even got to the area anyway but the families could not see the logic to wait until daylight and flyable winds. Sometimes a tough decision has to be made.

 

You cannot provide for hire a helicopter to do medevacs without an approved stretcher kit so read your contracts so you know what you are up against before it hits the fan.

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FAA has said that the 5 peronality types actually have no ties to accidents, but I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time... (just wish I could find the source)

 

With regards to Medevacs/Rescues, usually the flight crew does NOT know what is at stake, since this usually puts additional pressure on them to complete a mission (keywords like 'child', 'life or death' etc). This will prevent them from taking a mission, when the weather, or other factors are against them. Search and Rescue will NOT put themselves in excessive danger, as you don't want to have to rescue additional people. The only time I know that they do, is when doing cliff rescues.

 

I too have done the stretcherkit in a 206 with two attendants, giving CPR to a girl who had been beaten with a stick (literally). Short flight 2K, and only way to get them to the airport and to a medevac.

 

Cheers

H.

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