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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Industry, FAA Weigh Expanded Focus on Air Tour Safety

Following what they consider a highly successful “summit” on air tour safety in Hawaii, industry and FAA officials are considering follow-on meetings on the topic. Helicopter Assn. International President Matt Zuccaro told Rotor & Wing that leaders of that group and the U.S. aviation agency are in the initial stages of planning a forum in Las Vegas to cover air-tour operations over and around that city and the nearby Grand Canyon. That may be followed by a forum in Alaska covering air tours there. The goal of the Hawaii Air Tour Safety Forum, held May 22-23 in Honolulu, was “to create a close working relationship with the local FAA Flight Standards District Office and air-tour operators.” Subsequent forums in the continental United States would share that goal. “I can say with confidence the forum was a definite success,” Zuccaro said of the Honolulu meeting. It generated “very productive, positive feedback” from both operators and FAA inspectors. The meeting, co-sponsored by HAI and the FAA, was prompted by concerns that air-tour operations in Hawaii are at a point where the U.S. emergency medical service sector was two years ago: chronic safety issues are causing frequent accidents but are not being addressed aggressively or collectively enough by industry or the government. For related news

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