Aviation safety experts focus on heliport safety, altitude integration, weather gathering

Last week more than 50 aviation safety professionals and leaders from industry and government came together in Washington DC for this year’s USHST Infrastructure Summit.

The summit is designed as an industry and government collaborative effort comprised of groups that are involved with; impacted by; have federal, state or local regulatory oversite, jurisdiction and/or enforcement of; or provide general advisory/council on:

  • Heliport Safety, Standardization, Education and Oversight
  • Low Altitude IFR Infrastructure Design and Integration
  • Aviation Weather Gathering, Dissemination and Reporting
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“The goal of the summit is to define what is needed for helicopter and vertical lift operations infrastructure within the National Airspace System (NAS) Strategic Plan for the next 15 years,” said Tom Judge, USHST Infrastructure committee chairman and executive director for the LifeFlight of Maine. “The format of the meeting is a problem-solving discussion between industry and government stakeholders and our partner federal regulators. Each year we develop an action plan and measure progress towards a more integrated system building on yearly tasks.”

“With all the current discussions on Capitol Hill about improving and upgrading the U.S.’s infrastructure, aviation absolutely must be a part of that discussion,” said Rex Alexander, one of the coordinators for the Summit. “A properly designed low-level infrastructure will be critical to providing a harmonious airspace for all of the current and future users looking to conduct business in the NAS. With the current and continued influx of UAS, drone and VTOL aircraft coming into the market, setting up a well thought out foundation now will be vital for ensuring safety and accessibility for all parties.”

Participants in this year’s summit included representatives from: Association of Air Medical Services, Association of Critical Care Transport, American Helicopter Society International, Airbus Helicopters, Air Medical Operators Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, American Society of Testing & Materials Int., Bell Helicopter, Boston MedFlight, Department of the Interior, Federal Aviation Administration, Helicopter Association International, HeliExperts International LLC, Hughes Aerospace Corp., Leonardo Helicopters, Levitate Capital, LifeFlight of Maine, Protean LLC, Maryland State Police Aviation Command, National Association of State Aviation Officials, National Center for Atmospheric Research, National EMS Pilots Association, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, Praxis Aerospace Concepts International, Inc., Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics, Uber Technologies, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Helicopter Safety Team.

Presentations from the infrastructure summit will be available on the USHST website. More information about the USHST, its reports, safety tools, “Reel Safety” presentations and YouTube safety videos can also be found on the website and on Facebook and Twitter.

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