The New Mexico National Guard’s Charlie Company, 1-171st Aviation Regiment hosted the New Mexico Helicopter Safety Day on Dec. 3, at the Aviation Readiness Center.
Bob Martin, Helicopter Pilot for KRQE News 13, organized this year’s helicopter safety day which gives civilian, law enforcement and military entities safety information designed especially for New Mexico aviators associated with the aspects of rotary flight.
The Helicopter Safety Day is intended to achieve Flight Standards District Office, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), objectives of safety and efficiency. The FAA’s goal across the aviation community is that every aviator takes responsibility for flying safely in the skies of New Mexico by exercising good judgment and employing an effective safety program.
The 4th annual event was sponsored in part by Helicopter Association International (HAI). HAI Director of Safety, Stan Rose, donated the refreshments and lunch, along with giving several aviation safety presentations. While participants sampled the continental breakfast, J.D. Huss, Federal Aviation Administration Safety Team (FAAST), presented several classes on Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM) and reviewed recent New Mexico Aircraft Accidents. The Petroleum Helicopter Incorporated (PHI) Safety Director, Jeff Hurd, honed in on aircrew (interpersonal) climate and the decision to go mission launch decision-making. PHI is one of the largest helicopter contract-service companies in the world. New Mexico National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jarrett Miller gave a very interesting class on UAVs; spotlighting a huge proliferation in personal remote-controlled aircraft and the dangers they pose to rotary flight operations.
One of the highlights of this annual meeting is the face-to-face communication of civilian and military aviation professionals. More than 50 participants attended this year’s New Mexico Helicopter Safety Day. The participation of so many different agencies shows the care they place on flying safely across the skies of New Mexico. Industries in attendance include Law Enforcement: Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, Albuquerque Police Department, San Juan County Sheriff’s Department; Federal Agencies: Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Patrol, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service; as well as Civil/General Aviation: PHI Air Medical, KRQE-TV, KOAT-TV, KOB-TV, Vertical Limit Aviation, and the Albuquerque Air Traffic Control.
Another invaluable aspect was getting some face time with the tower chief, Bob Wood, from the Santa Fe Airport. Wood discussed future plans of the Santa Fe tower with regards to operations and emergencies. In addition, he fielded questions from the pilots about the hot topics of flying in and around the Santa Fe area.
Aviators, like many of the professionals in the New Mexico National Guard, work very closely with their civilian counterparts on a daily basis. Opportunities such as this offer a chance to brush up on the challenges faced by both entities, as well as addressing the best practices for overlapping programs and flight routes. Another event is already scheduled for next year to maintain this communication, thus keeping the safety of New Mexicans at the forefront.
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