The Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) has said that the next revision to the CAMTS Standards will encourage additional helicopter instrument flight rules (IFR) training requirements for air ambulance providers. The US-based accreditation body said the draft of the recommendation, which is to be incorporated into the 11th Edition of the Standards, will require quarterly inadvertent instrument meteorological condition (IIMC) training and demonstration of the pilot’s ability to safely manoeuvre the helicopter into visual meteorological conditions (VMC) and completion of an IFR approach.
For instrument proficiency training in non-IFR-certified rotorcraft, the pilot should perform such manoeuvres as are appropriate to the vehicle’s installed equipment, the certificate holder's operations specifications, and the operating environment, said CAMTS.
Explaining the rationale behind the move, the organisation stated: “A recent analysis of fatal accidents over a five-year period, conducted by the US Helicopter Safety Team, revealed that the helicopter air ambulance industry had the second most fatal accidents, second only to personal/private operations. Fifty-two per cent of these accidents involved inflight loss of control, IIMC [or] low altitude operations. Increasing IFR training requirements is an attempt to reduce the historical accident rate in our industry while focusing on data-driven causal factors and is in keeping with the CAMTS mission to continuously improve transport safety.”
CAMTS said the proposed revision of the standards is being recommended by the CAMTS Aviation & Safety Advisory Committee, comprised of industry safety experts including non-CAMTS board members. The final wording will require approval from the CAMTS board of directors.