Immediate Action Medicine (IA MED) has partnered with Black Wolf Helicopter Special Operations Aviation & Training to create a new modulated and online course designed specifically for the aeromedical community – ACOS: Aircrew Operations and Survival. The course has one aim – to improve and empower aeromedical crewmembers to do one thing: support the pilot in command.
Chris Smetana, Founder & CEO at IA MED, and the HAI 2019 Salute to Excellence Safety award recipient Chris Sharpe, who is also Chief Aircrewman at Black Wolf Helicopters, told AirMed&Rescue why this course is different: “From the few online courses that are available, many are written with a heavy input from pilots. Occasionally, they become very technical, very quickly, or are written from a totally different perspective to what a non-pilot crewmember does. So, this course is designed to give any aeromedical crewmember a basic level of knowledge and understanding about what the helicopter does and, more importantly, what the pilot is doing. So that we, as crew, are better positioned to support them.”
So, how is the course presented differently? Chris Sharpe commented: “Traditionally, online courses are made up of graphs, charts and computer-based images, and while ACOS still uses these where necessary, the majority of the course is supported by real-world video footage actually showing the learner what we are talking about. For example, the module on understanding weather. As opposed to relying on a cheap app on your phone, we decode METAR (meteorological aerodrome reports) and TAFS (terminal aerodrome forecasts), then the next day, fly, so that the viewer can see it actually works – if you understand the system.”
It is a 10-module course, with the entire online course taking just over 11 hours to complete. It starts with the basics – ‘Safety starts here’ – and progresses through the various parts of a helicopter airframe, crew roles and responsibilities, and then the entire mission structure from briefing to post-mission processes. The Bell 206 L4 Long Ranger is used, as it is considered to be a relatively simple airframe for students to learn on. Smetana said: “The aim being, if you follow the first half of the course, you should never need the survival parts, where we look at different types of equipment and skills that will allow the learner to go away and develop exactly what they need.”
The ACOS course has been designed specifically for the US aeromedical community, where, due to legislation differences, there is less of a crew focus, and more of a patient care focus. The ACOS course meets, and in areas exceeds, the mandatory requirements under the following regulatory bodies:
- CAMTS 12th Edition
- FAA Part 91 and Part 135
- Crewmember training requirements
- FAA 14CFR, Part 63 – Certification: Flight Crewmembers other than Pilots
- CASA (AVI40119) – Certificate IV in Aviation (Air Crew Officer)
- EASA – Regulation (EU) 2019/1747 (Formerly EU-Ops/ JAR-Ops)
- EHAC (European HEMS & Air Ambulance Committee)
Certificates are provided through IA MED, complete with CE/CME credits and countersigned by certified flight instructors.
Sharpe said: “There is a wealth of information on the ACOS course for anyone to learn – whether as part of the new hire process, or an aeromedical crew who has been flying 20 years. So, to advance on this, we are excited to announce the IA MED Aeromedical Academy in Louisiana in May 2021. This is an eight-day intensive course, where we cover the key aspects of the ACOS course, from HUET, land survival and rotors running patient loads / unloads (day and night) to show people that if you are confident, you can, above all, be safe. The Aeromedical Academy also allows aeromedical crews to requalify in their annual mandatory medical certifications such as their FP-C, CCP-C, CFRN or CTRN certifications.”
The ACOS course will be available for pre-registration from IA MED from 22 November 2020.