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Our Program Is Considering Purchasing A Bell 407 Or Ec 130.


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#1 justiceforall

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 01:13 PM

We presently fly dual engines, but are considering purchasing bell 407 or EC 130 to save money.

Looking for facts only, and statistics on one vs two engine crashes, which are difficult to track down.


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#2 clearblueskies

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Posted 24 September 2015 - 03:18 AM

So I don't have a bunch of statistics to throw at you but I can give you some first hand experience advice. I work out of both aircraft on a regular basis and there are many advantages to each. However the main advantage to the 407 come from a little bit more speed and is often nicer to the pilots. Depending on the specific submodel of 407 (gx,gxp), the pilots get more bells and whistles to play with. But on the med crew side it is a 206 interior with a bit more length. I personally came out of a 145 (with a 135 back up) into a 407 and we all hated it. There was literally no room to work on your patient if things got bad. However it does fly much better if you are working at higher altitudes. Compare that with the 130 or 130t2... not quite as fast but I have full access to my patient, much more comfort, better visibility for the pilots and med crew and a great avionics pacakge. True they don't like high and hot work but for most everyone in the middle, eastern and southern states it works great. Given my choice of the two I would choose a 130 everyday of the week over a 407. But then again I like to be able to work on my patient if I have to. I think that's why we got called and are flying the patient in the first place. If you get a 407 just be prepared to alter you practice to get nearly everything done you might need to do to the patient, before they go in the aircraft. Once they are in you have no access from the midpelvis down and the left side is also inaccessible. With the 130 this is no problem. As for safety the only thing the bell really has over the 130 is the self sealing fuel system. With that being said, needing to worry about that is something I hope to never need to do. If we hit hard enough to cause a fire, I'm fairly certain I will have a lot more issues on top of that. But some would say otherwise. Just my 2 cents.
Here's hoping for a 130t2 for you!
Fly safe
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#3 Ralph

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Posted 24 September 2015 - 03:32 PM

Actually stats with one vs two engines aren't hard to come by and if you look at the last 20 that have gone down you see a pretty disturbing trend. You could contact Dr Blumen over at UCAN who keeps the stats every year and releases the data as well as speaks at AMTC many years. Or you could get into the FAA data base and do it yourself. Never flown in a single and never will

Ralph


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#4 clearblueskies

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Posted 24 September 2015 - 11:51 PM

I know that was low hanging fruit Ralph, and I it is totally obvious that flying a twin CAN be safer. But I can tell you that I also said the same thing you just said when I was early in my career. I would love to say that it is realistic, but it is not and if the current climate within the industry keeps up you will probably get your resolve on the subject tested. I'm not sure of your background or how long you've been doing the job, and am not going to get pulled into that type of pissing match. But I will say this to you I've flown in everything from an UH-60 to an AS350B3 over the past 17 years. I've worked out of arguably the best civil aviation EMS helicopter in the world, the EC145T2. Out of all the aircraft I've flown in and probably north of 2500 completed patient flight I've only had two engine issues one was in a Blackhawk and one was in an AS365. Neither would have caused horrible problems even if it had happened on a single. Everyone would love to fly all their career in a huge twin.... just remember this it probably won't always be an option, even if a rich hospital system told you it would never occur (because it has and will again), and you still have only one transmission and 90 degree gear box which are far more likely to fail than a modern turbine engine. But the biggest issue is that Justiceforall sounds as though it GONNA happen at their base, so just saying twins are safer is really useless and anecdotal information. The industry is and has been transitioning to cheaper and cheaper helicopters (twins to singles) for years. It's gonna continue to do so unless they are forced by one of the acronym agencies to only fly twins....or with dual pilots. BUT the real question from Justiceforall still stands and is a valid question that someone who has never and says they will never fly in a single really can't help with. The transition sucks enough already being obstanant about it doesn't fix it.
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#5 USDalum97

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Posted 25 September 2015 - 02:12 AM

Are you looking for facts to take to management to sell them on the idea of staying in a twin? Good luck with that.

 

I say go to the NTSB database and look through it. This has been discussed (and argued) throughout the years on this site and many others. 

 

Argument #1) The vast majority of the accidents have nothing to do with the number of engines. Running out of fuel, CFIT, weather issues, poor decision making, etc, will all happen no matter how many engines there are. 

 

Argument #2) A single engine failure is a possibility and the second engine can fly you to the closest airport for a safe landing. Therefore, single engine aircraft are inherently dangerous and should be banned. 

 

We transitioned from a twin (B222 and a Twinstar before that) to a single (B407) and haven't looked back. The aircraft has been outstanding. We are now on our second 407 as the last one was getting older. It performs well and has been very reliable. We often take a third rider (law enforcement, family, trainees, etc). I have been on 2 flights where it was my partner and I, the paitent, a parent, and a trainee in the back. One was a scene flight and the other an IFT. We don't do IABP, ECMO, or isolettes. After 8 years of being in the 407, I've yet to transport a patient where I couldn't access what I needed in flight. 

 

Would I quit if they brought in a twin? No. Do I feel unsafe in the single? No.


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#6 Wally

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Posted 25 September 2015 - 06:14 PM

It's been a decade or so since I checked the stats on various phases of the industry and air frames. A great deal has changed the art and science of what we do since then, but the fundamental factor in aircraft accidents remains the pilot(s). Equipment has improved by orders of magnitude since I started flying in '68, including engines, but that applies across singles and multis, so variance in risk factors will be about the same. Redundant systems can/could be safer, but only if operated to maximal safety practices. Otherwise managing more complex systems means greater risk exposure and accidents, making relatively simple single engine air frames an actual safety advantage (more than a decade, about 5000 hours and tens of thousands of landings in a twin while also flying singles in the same industry leads me to that opinion).

Hiring, training, managing and supporting talent is the answer to safety problems. In other words, if an operator manages and operates a twin efficiently in ALL those aspects, the twin WILL BE SAFER! How close your operation is to perfection is the advantage more capable equipment will yield, and the further from perfection the greater the advantage of simple singles.

In 47 years in the field, I've had 2 engine failures- one in a single and one in a twin, and it was much more manageable in the twin. Uncounted more, perhaps hundreds more systems management issues in the decades, and you don't have to read many accident reports to see those flown into the ground, a greatly increased risk in multi-engines.

 

My light ship career is evenly divided between Bells and Aerospatiale/Eurocopter/Airbus airframes, but I've never flown a 407 or a 130. Based on observation and experience between the comparable older airframes, I'd say the 130 cabin is more accommodating to the industry if your population isn't commonly 300-plus pounds (girth is also a factor, 54-56 inches being our limit) with short transports and low altitude scenes.

The Bells are less weight sensitive but girth looks like it would still be a factor stuffing the patient between the "broom closet" and the B-pillar, also contributing to less access to the lower extremities. I am told that the patient head is higher in the Bell, making some of your medical magic easier, and the seats are much more comfortable. The aircraft is faster, especially compared to heavy 130s; the newer models more high altitude capable (altho still NOT a 350B3 competitor); and the crew seats seem better in the Bells, making long legs and busy days more ergonomic.

 

As a pilot, I'd rather fly Bells, I'm all over the enthusiasm for AIRBUS.


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#7 Ralph

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Posted 25 September 2015 - 06:18 PM

I don't disagree with either of the comments on here clearblue. Plain and simple the only reason to move from a twin to a single is financial. I have worked in the industry for 30 years and I have worked in the leadership side for 10+ including the largest two public traded companies in a high capacity. Its simple if you cant make 600K plus at your CBS base then you move to a single so you can squeak out another 250k in cost reduction. Doesnt matter less room, one engine, tough on crews/patients blah blah blah. Its the same mentality used by these same companies that every 120,000 flight hours they will suffer a fatal and that is statistically considered ok by them. its the reason I went to another career and fly 2 x a month, Now if your hospital based program is making the switch its usually because they are getting killed on the cost side as they are clueless on billing and cant generate any income. Look what's happening to Air Methods and Air Medical holdings bills of 40K plus and for the first time the insurers are pushing back and both companies are felling the pressure.- Look at AIRM stock and their quarterlies these last few. Lower reimbursement and no more patients to be had. It is no longer and hasn't been about the patient in 10+ years. Its about money only. So either run a not for profit and try to fund your endeavor or play the game. That's why they are moving to a single. As for the question at hand no I wouldn't fly in a single for EMS work. Everyone can make their own decisions. You are correct in the causes of the accidents but you cant argue with the stats on the last 20 in our industry and we know several will be related to loss of power from the engine as the prelims are already pointed that way. yes I agree we don't have to invent new ways to kill ourselves the old ways work fine as you said with CFIT, running out of fuel etc. Just giving an opinion that's worth about 0.2 cents


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#8 justiceforall

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 10:20 AM

Thank you, everyone for your input.  I'm new to this forum, but not new to the industry.  I still remain uncomfortable with flying in a single engine, and our efforts to prevent it were futile, just as you mentioned.  


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#9 USDalum97

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 11:49 PM

justice,

 

No offense, but consider what you were asking for. You were asking for your employer to commit considerable resources (close to double) on the single largest expense for the program (probably even larger than payroll), just because some people were "uncomfortable."

 

Now that you know the direction of the program, it's time to make your voices heard on which of the aircraft they are considering. Redirect that energy to finding which one is a better fit for the program. Depending on your program, you may actually have some input here. Ask the Director to have your vendor bring out both type of aircraft. Chances are they have spares that will be available at some point. Mock up the interior with your bags, your equipment, a mannequin, etc. "Work" a few calls with the decision makers present. Ask the pilots to run the numbers for your area on which one has better performance for your area and your typical call types. Show them why one is better than the other. 

 

If you can't get the helicopters brought to you, see if your manager can arrange for a field trip to a few programs that have the helicopter types that are being considered.

 

Good luck with the transition.


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#10 justiceforall

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 03:22 PM

It's a done deal.  No other advise needed.


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