American Eurocopter Appoints 2010 Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award Blue Ribbon Committee

American Eurocopter Appoints 2010 Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award Blue Ribbon Committee

5-May-2010 Source: American Eurocopter

Grand Prairie, Texas – American Eurocopter announced today that it has appointed the 2010 Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award Blue Ribbon Committee. The members of this committee will be responsible for evaluating the applications and determining the winner of the prestigious Vision Zero Aviation Safety award, which was established by American Eurocopter with the purpose of promoting a higher level of safety within the air medical industry. As part of the award, American Eurocopter will contribute up to $10,000 to the winner of the award to further develop aviation safety initiatives within their organization. This is the fourth year for the award.

The 2009 award was given to the National EMS Pilots Association (NEMSPA) for their tireless work on safety initiatives including several surveys, educational programs, and campaigns.

“It was gratifying to have been selected as the 2009 Vision Award winner,” said Kent Johnson, President of NEMSPA and Chief Pilot for Intermountain Life Flight. “It is validation for NEMSPA’s contributions to safety and education throughout the HEMS industry, and specifically our No Pressure initiative. No Pressure is aimed at increasing safety throughout the industry by identifying and reducing the negative internal and external pressures associated with air medical missions. It is a key element in creating a safer HEMS industry and the Vision Zero Award provided us with the resources to begin the second phase of the initiative. NEMSPA has identified key areas of concern and we are designing a nationwide survey of HEMS organizations, programs and professionals that we plan to have ready for AMTC.” More information on the No Pressure initiative will be available in July when a brochure will be available that will explain how interested programs and organizations can participate.

All programs and operators who are members of the Association of Air Medical Service (AAMS) are eligible to apply for the Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award, and may nominate themselves.  Nomination forms are now available.

Each of the following members of the Blue Ribbon Committee has extensive background within the air medical industry:

  • Bill Bryant MPA/HSA  (Chairman) Mr. Bryant is the president and principle of Sierra Health Group, a national healthcare consulting firm based in Dallas, Texas and Golden, CO.  Mr. Bryant has over 25 years experience in the air medical industry, and has worked on consulting projects in over 30 States.  He is a prior AAMS Board member and Officer.
  • Denise Landis, RN, EMT-P, MSA, CMTE Ms. Landis has been in the air ambulance industry over 25 years and is the Program Director for the University of Michigan Survival Flight and is also a past President of the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS).  She is the current Chairperson of the Medical Transport Leadership Institute (MTLI) and current board member of Michigan AAMS.
  • Eileen Frazer, RN, CMTE Ms. Frazer has been the Executive Director of CAMTS since its inception in 1990.  Frazer has published many articles and chapters related to safety and medical transport operations and has a regular feature in the Air Med Journal entitled “Ask CAMTS”.
  • Ed MacDonald Mr. MacDonald has over 39 years experience flying patients since 1970 as a combat medical evacuation pilot and 17 years of experience as an active EMS Pilot, and has held positions as a Chief Pilot, Safety Manager, and Lead Pilot.  He is a retired US Army Major, and is past President of NEMSPA, the Co-Chair of the AAMS/CORE Safety Committee, and current Chairman of AMSAC.
  • Clark Kurschner Mr. Kurschner is the Director of Operations for Omniflight Helicopters, Inc.  His duties during his thirty plus year career at Omniflight include EMS line pilot, a flight instructor, a check airman and Chief Pilot. He is a member of the AAMS Safety Committee, The HAI Flight Operations Committee, the HAI Air Medical Committee, and past Chairman of AMSAC.
  • Gerry Pagano Mr. Pagano is the Director of Operations for the Health Care District of Palm Beach County’s Trauma Hawk Aeromedical Program in West Palm Beach, Florida.  He has over 30 years experience in aviation operations including combat flight assignment, air traffic control, emergency medical services and consults on air carrier certification. Mr. Pagano has been certified as an Aviation Safety Program Manager at the Transportation Safety Institute, currently serves on the AAMS Board, and is the Chairman of the AAMS Safety Committee.
  • Jason Schwebach MBA, MHA, CMTE Mr. Schwebach is the Administrative Director for MedCenter Air, the transport service for Carolinas Healthcare System in Charlotte, NC.  He is a former military medical service corps officer and helicopter pilot with both the US Army & US Air Force, and has been in the air-medical industry for 18 years.  He is a CAMTS site surveyor, and immediate past president of the North Carolina Air-Medical Affiliation.
  • Joe Syslo Mr. Syslo is the Senior Manager, Aviation Safety, for American Eurocopter. He is a retired US Army Aviator and Commercial Pilot who has flown helicopters for the last 42 years in a variety of applications, including HEMS. He has been a Chief Pilot for a Part 135 company, an ARNG CW4 ASO, and is also retired from Bell Helicopter, where he was a Senior Aircraft Accident Investigator and Aviation Safety Specialist. Mr. Syslo is actively involved in the International Helicopter Safety Team, whose goal is to reduce helicopter accidents 80% by 2016.

For more information on The American Eurocopter Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award, please visit or

About American Eurocopter
American Eurocopter is a helicopter manufacturer that produces, markets, sells and supports the broadest range of civil and para-public helicopters offered by any manufacturer in the United States. The company is a subsidiary of EADS North America Holdings, the North American operations of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services, and is an affiliate of Eurocopter, the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world. American Eurocopter’s product line represents the most cost-effective, technologically-advanced helicopters, ranging from light single to heavy twin, serving all markets and missions. Company headquarters and main facilities are located in Grand Prairie, TX, with a large manufacturing and production facility in Columbus, MS, that produces the UH-72A for the U.S. Army’s Light Utility Helicopter program.

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