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Pilot error cited in medevac crash

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 9, 2009

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A pilot's decision to fly in poor weather and his lack of recent experience with instrument landings were factors in last year's crash of a Maryland State Police helicopter emergency medical services flight, according to an Oct. 27 ruling by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Killed in the Sept. 27, 2008, crash were the pilot, flight paramedic, volunteer medic and one of two teenagers being transported to a local hospital. The NTSB also determined that the air traffic controller failed to advise the pilot on weather conditions, and state police did not use systems that would have pinpointed the site of the crash rapidly. It took two hours to find the wreckage.

Last year was the deadliest for medical helicopters, with 29 fatalities. This prompted the NTSB in September to recommend more pilot training and improvements in the collection and analysis of flight, weather and safety data.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/11/09/prbf1109.htm.

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