Concern Network The Concern Network shares verified information to alert medical transport programs when an accident/incident has occurred. Both air and ground programs are encouraged to participate. If you have questions, contact CONCERN Coordinator David Kearns at (800) 525-3712 or www.concern-network.org.
January 1, 2011 Approximately 29 minutes into a 30-minute flight from Rochester, MN, to Albert Lea Medical Center (Albert Lea, MN), for an interfacility transport, during final approach to the hospital helipad, the Mayo Clinic Medical Transport (Rochester, MN) flight team described hearing a loud noise above the patient care compartment. The team indicated this was followed by vibration, which they described as intensifying. Options for landing were briefly discussed, including divert to the airport 2 miles to the north or proceed to the hospital helipad less than half a mile ahead and in sight. The team agreed to proceed with the planned landing at the hospital helipad, which occurred without complication. After completing the emergency shutdown procedure for the EC145 aircraft, the post-flight inspection revealed damage to a portion of the aft copilot side engine cowling and the underside of each of the main rotor blades. The aircraft and flight crew were immediately placed out of service and the postaccident/incident plan initiated. Alternative patient transport arrangements were made. The FAA and NTSB were notified by Omniflight Helicopters, Inc., and the aircraft was secured pending their review. The helicopter was released to Omniflight on January 3, 2011. The helicopter was inspected, and the engine cowling and main rotor blades were replaced. The helicopter returned to service on January 5, 2011. An incident review continues.
January 3, 2011 When Air St. Luke’s (Boise, ID) was on a return flight after a patient transport, the MD 900 pilot notified maintenance of a NOTAR out-of-balance condition on the IDS. The value was within acceptable limits, and the indication was cleared using established procedures. No unusual flight conditions or vibrations were noted during the flight. The weather was clear and not a factor. Upon inspection, after removing cowling around the NOTAR drive, damage was noted in the composite housing, and an AA-battery-size flashlight was discovered in a concealed space below the fan. The flashlight had apparently been left, and during flight, vibration caused its battery cover to separate and impact the fan hub. The aircraft was taken out of service. Maintenance uses foam cut-outs and a four-step inspection process. All flashlights were accounted. It is unknown when or how the flashlight was left in the aircraft. Maintenance and inspection procedures have been carefully reviewed. Idaho Helicopters, Inc. is the vendor.
January 4, 2011 The interfacility flight originated in Window Rock, AZ (RQE), and was destined for Albuquerque, NM (ABQ). After leveling at 124
12,000 feet, the Lifeguard Air Emergency Services (Albuquerque, NM) medical crew noticed a haze in the cabin and informed the pilot. The King Air E90 pilot attempted to troubleshoot the problem, but the haze thickened and the cabin temperature increased. Efforts to decrease the temperature and haze were not effective. The pilot selected the cabin dump position of the pressurization system with no effect. He then declared an emergency and notified ATC that he was diverting to Grants, NM (GNT). The medical team notified Lifeguard dispatch through the medical radio to arrange for patient transfer once the aircraft landed. Dispatch initiated the PAIP, which included activation of local law enforcement, fire, and EMS personnel. The pilot made a normal approach and uneventful landing at Grants. After engine shutdown, the cabin was still partially pressurized. The pilot opened the side window to equalize the cabin before opening the cabin door. The aircraft was met by the ground ambulance, and the patient was transported without incident. The aircraft was taken out of service. The weather was clear and not a factor. Maintenance personnel determined that the vacuum line to the pressurization outflow valve melted as a result of a cabin temperature controller failure. The faulty temperature controller caused the heating duct to overheat and melt the vacuum line, which runs near the duct. The melting created the haze in the cabin and prevented the pressurization controller from controlling the cabin pressure. All components were replaced or repaired and the aircraft was returned to service. A postincident debrief was conducted with involved medical crew, pilot, and dispatcher.
February 9, 2011 A UAB Critical Care Transport (Birmingham, AL) ambulance was pulling through the airport gate en route to pick up a team coming in on the jet and stopped to let the gate close. While stopped, a man in a van swerved around the back of the Ford E450 ambulance and entered the airport. Our driver called dispatch and asked them to call Airport Authority. He then followed the van to a hangar and proceeded to tell the driver that he couldn’t follow in after the ambulance and had to leave. The van driver said he was not leaving as he opened the rear of his vehicle. Our driver said he was calling the police. The van driver then pulled a chainsaw from the rear of the van and came toward our driver as he was trying to crank it, but was unable to start the chainsaw. Our driver then got into the ambulance and locked the doors, moved the ambulance to block the van so the man could not leave in his vehicle and waited on Airport Authority to arrive. Airport Authority, TSA, and the police responded. The individual said he was a corporate pilot. He was released pending their investigation. No injuries or damage were sustained. Air Medical Journal 30:3