As of May 31st, the General Aviation fatal accident rate for the state of Arizona remains at only one, the crash of a Piper PA-22-160 about 9.5 miles south-southeast of Kingman. The student pilot received serious injuries, and the owner/non-pilot rated passenger received fatal injuries.
On April 16th, a Bell 206 experimental helicopter crashed about a mile south of Fort McDowell while on the last test flight of the main rotor blades before beginning the certification process. The commercial-rated pilot and the pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The helicopter was being operated as a commercial entity doing research and development flight testing, and, under the guidelines of the GAARMS program, does not fall within the bounds of the GAARMS program, and thus not counted against the general aviation community.
Within the fatal accident guidelines of the GAARMS reporting process, our safety performance still stands at an outstanding rate of 100.00% safe, with NO general aviation pilots killed so far this year. Unfortunately, one passenger was fatally injured. GAARMS has the auspicious goal of trying to reduce the fatal accident rate to zero, or said a different way, to operate every flight safely, with a 100% success rate. That rate means NO fatal accidents with NO fatalities, referred to as “The Four 9’s Program,” or operating at a safety rate of 99.99% for any given year vs the pilot population here in Arizona, currently at approximately 26,000 pilots. As of May 31st, we stand at a safety rate of 99.9962%. The real challenge facing us is to stay at that 99.990 or better rate the rest of 2019!
Watch for announcements on FAASAFETY.GOV to register, or you can always just walk in and join in the fun. If your organization or airport community would like to also have a presentation, just contact me through the APA website.
In remembrance of Memorial Day…
By an Army Doctor. A real eye opener. Definitely worth your time to read.
I am a doctor specializing in the Emergency Departments of the only two military Level One-Trauma Centers, both in San Antonio, TX. We care for civilian emergencies as well as military personnel. San Antonio has the largest military retiree population in the world living here. As a military doctor, I work long hours and the pay is less than glamorous. One tends to become jaded by the long hours, lack of sleep, food, family contact and the endless parade of human suffering passing before you. The arrival of another ambulance does not mean more pay, only more work. Most often, it is a victim from a motor vehicle crash.
Often it is a person of dubious character who has been shot or stabbed. With our large military retiree population, it is often a nursing home patient. Even with my enlisted service and minimal combat experience in Panama, I have caught myself groaning when the ambulance brings in yet another sick, elderly person from one of the local retirement centers that cater to military retirees. I had not stopped to think of what the citizens of this age group represented.
I saw 'Saving Private Ryan.' I was touched deeply. Not so much by the carnage, but by the sacrifices of so many. I was touched most by the scene of the elderly survivor at the graveside, asking his wife if he'd been a good man. I realized that I had seen some of these same men and women coming through my Emergency Dept. and had not realized what magnificent sacrifices they had made. The things they did for me and everyone else that has lived on this planet since the end of that conflict are priceless.
Situation permitting, I now try to ask my patients about their experiences. They would never bring up the subject without my inquiry. I have been privileged to hear an amazing array of experiences, recounted in the brief minutes allowed in an Emergency Dept. encounter. These experiences have revealed the incredible individuals I have had the honor of serving in a medical capacity, many on their last admission to the hospital.
There was a frail, elderly woman who reassured my young enlisted medic, trying to start an IV line in her arm. She remained calm and poised, despite her illness and the multiple needle-sticks into her fragile veins. She was what we call a 'hard stick.' As the medic made another attempt, I noticed a number tattooed across her forearm. I touched it with one finger and looked into her eyes. She simply said, “Auschwitz.” Many patients of later generations would have loudly and openly berated the young medic in his many attempts. How different was the response from this person who had seen unspeakable suffering.
Also, there was this long-retired Colonel, who as a young officer had parachuted from his burning plane over a Pacific Island held by the Japanese. Now an octogenarian, he had a minor cut on his head from a fall at his home where he lived alone. His CT scan and suturing had been delayed until after midnight by the usual parade of high priority ambulance patients. Still spry for his age, he asked to use the phone to call a taxi, to take him home, then he realized his ambulance had brought him without his wallet. He asked if he could use the phone to make a long distance call to his daughter who lived 7 miles away. With great pride we told him that he could not, as he'd done enough for his country and the least we could do was get him a taxi home, even if we had to pay for it ourselves. My only regret was that my shift wouldn't end for several hours, and I couldn't drive him myself.
I was there the night M/Sgt. Roy Benavidez came through the Emergency Dept. for the last time. He was very sick. I was not the doctor taking care of him, but I walked to his bedside and took his hand. I said nothing. He was so sick, he didn't know I was there. ...I'd read his Congressional Medal of Honor citation and wanted to shake his hand. He died a few days later.
I may still groan when yet another ambulance comes in, but now I am much more aware of what an honor it is to serve these particular men and women.
I have seen, and continue to see, a Congress who would turn their back on these individuals who've sacrificed so much to protect our liberty. I see later generations that seem to be totally engrossed in abusing these same liberties, won with such sacrifice.
It has become my personal endeavor to make the nurses and young enlisted medics aware of these amazing individuals when I encounter them in our Emergency Dept. Their response to these particular citizens has made me think that perhaps all is not lost in the next generation.
My experiences have solidified my belief that we are losing an incredible generation, and this nation knows not what it is losing. Our uncaring government and ungrateful civilian populace should all take note. We should all remember that we must “earn this.” If it weren't for the United States Military, there'd be NO United States of America!
And now as you have finished reading this, our Congress enjoys their free medical care, for LIFE I might add (which of course they voted in themselves), and are in the process of charging these people for their medical care and at the same time possibly reducing their retirement pay.
...A typical political "Thank you" for their Service...
I write this as a memorial to all who have served and/or fallen for our country, and it is my perspective only, and does not necessarily reflect the view of the Arizona Pilots Association