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Lessons from Last Year’s Amarillo Air Ambulance Crash


On the midnight of April 28, 2017, the entire crew that comprised of the pilot and two crew members of an air ambulance flight had lost their lives. The vehicle was a Pilatus PC 12 – a turboprop single engine medical flight. The pilot had reported to the ground staff just about a minute before the crash and everything seemed fine at the moment. National Transportation Safety Board had begun the investigations immediately after the crash. As all aviation investigations take time, this one too is still ongoing; however, the agency has issued certain recommendations.

Recommendations for Low Level Air Ambulance Flights

The National Transportation Safety Board has come up with two recommendations for National Weather Service. The first is that the agency should have more effective weather forecasting pertaining to turbulences below 8 thousand feet above the sea level. The second is that the National Weather Service trains the aviation forecasters with regards to turbulence reporting below 8 thousand feet above the sea level.

The unfortunate flight that crashed last year was reported to be flying below 6 thousand feet above the sea level. Turbulent weather is being viewed as the culprit currently by National Transportation Safety Board although investigations are still not complete.

The Pilot of the Air Ambulance was Certified as Highly Skilled

The pilot, Robin Shaw, who was flying the air ambulance, was registered in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airmen Certification Database. This is a certification that is given to those who exceed the standards set by the Federal Aviation Administration. He had achieved this certification already in the year 2013.

The other two crew members of the air ambulance were Misty Nicholson and Scott Riola – both flight nurses. All three were employed by Rico Air Ambulance company. We hope that the new recommendations of National Transportation Safety Board result in better safety of air ambulance flights across the United States.

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