NAAMTA Global International Helicopter Hoisting Standards
In late 2021, Aerospace Qualified Entity (AQE) published its final report after the fatal accident involving an Irish Coast Guard Sikorsky S-92 helicopter in 2017. In the light of this, Search and Rescue International Ltd requested an oversight program for SAR operations, writes Amy Arndt, Program Director at NAAMTA
In 2021, National Accreditation Alliance of Medical Transport Applications (NAAMTA) Global and Pegasus Aero Services had been working to develop accreditation programs for international hoist operators and Part 133/135 operators in the US to support helicopter hoist external load and hoist medical transport industry needs.
NAAMTA Global, known for its medical transport accreditation program, and aviation consultancy Pegasus Aero Services, are releasing two new accreditation programs: Helicopter Hoist Accreditation and Hoist Medical Transport Accreditation. These two accreditations apply worldwide standards for helicopter hoist operations with a focus on quality and safety.
NAAMTA created a development team, engaging subject matter experts and professionals in several aspects of the industry. Their extensive experience and qualifications enabled them to conduct numerous hours of research and comprehensive interviews with international and domestic operational representatives, including hoist pilots, hoist operators, hoist/rescue technicians, training academy directors, pilots, maintenance directors, and aviation management personnel from across the world.
NAAMTA Hoisting Accreditation Standards enable operators to reach for and execute their helicopter hoisting operations at a higher level of service
Furthermore, using their expertise with regulatory authority requirements, which include the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the two NAAMTA Hoisting Accredition Standards were created. They enable operators to reach for and execute their helicopter hoisting operations at a higher level of service by validating their processes against those outlined in the NAAMTA Helicopter Hoisting Standards.
The standards focus on providing hoist services that are:
- Compliant with regulatory authorities and internal policy and procedures
- Professionally executed
- Ensure the workforce is well-trained, qualified, and proficient
- Monitored by an engaged management team.
Compliance with NAAMTA Helicopter Hoisting Accreditation Standards
The NAAMTA Helicopter Hoisting Accreditation Standards promote a series of evaluated tasks derived from an extensive review of demonstrated best practices held by a multitude of current operators and training schools. These best practices, in most cases, go above and beyond what a country or governing body may have published in its guidelines for the execution of search and rescue hoist operations.
Compliance is assessed by NAAMTA’s and Pegasus Aero Services’ experienced auditors through an audit of documentation, employee interviews, on-site evaluations, and process reviews, all of which are conducted using ISO 9001:2015 auditing guidelines.
Audits of internal procedures, investigations of safety and quality escapes, timely addressing of safety hazards, and monitoring quality and safety metrics, are paramount for management to keep a finger on the pulse of their operations, and never be caught off guard or blindsided by an incident or accident that was otherwise avoidable.
Compliance with the accreditation standards demonstrates that the organization has exemplary procedures, policies, training programs, safety systems, maintenance programs, and conducts internal evaluations as prescribed.
Helicopter hoisting safety
Safety is an all-encompassing umbrella to an operation. Safety is about moving forward to mitigate operational risks and developing a safety culture where everyone is involved in measuring and mitigating risks.
Safety is as important to the organization as it is for those involved in the operation and the applicable environments
The Hoisting Accreditation Standards and Audit evaluates the organization’s safety program to identify the safety culture, company participation, and helicopter hoisting operations.
Professionally executed helicopter hoisting operations
Hoisting operations, to be professionally executed, require licensed and certified individuals who are continuously involved in training and qualifications programs.
Using the organization’s mission statement and focusing on historical mission conduct, the organization must define a roadmap to ensure crewmember qualifications and proficiencies meet company requirements. The training program is required to:
- ensure crew members are proficient on their ‘core-set’ of hoist missions
- execute each hoist mission ‘core-set’ frequently
- expand proficiency to address potential future mission sets.
NAAMTA’s engaged management team
Management must be actively involved in risk decisions to effectively allocate resources to reduce the risk, eliminate the hazard, and implement controls. They must ensure the organization has the proper oversight through well-established quality assurance and internal auditing programs.
The accreditation standards and audit require management to have appropriate policies, safety, quality performance objectives, internal auditing, communications, risk management, and training programs. And – management must be seen as a role model to the organization, embracing a fair and well-executed safety culture.
NAAMTA Executive Director, Roylen Griffin, states: “NAAMTA’s vision is to create measurable industry standards for international helicopter hoist operators and US Part 133/135 medical transport operators resulting in enhanced quality care, ensuring patient safety, and providing the standards required to attain a high level of excellence and achieve recognition and certification in quality.”
For additional information on the Helicopter Hoist and the Hoist Medical Transport Accreditations, or are interested in participating on the advisory board, please contact NAAMTA Global at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling +1 801.756.7215.
NAAMTA Global at HAI Heli-Expo Dallas
Please visit us at HAI Heli-Expo in Dallas, 8-10 March 2022, Booth 9357, and join us at our presentation on Thursday 10 March at 09:30. The location will be announced during the trade show.