Economic Stimulus Plan Could Boost HEMS Prospects

Facing the ravages of NTSB scrutiny for a rash of fatal crashes, the helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) industry could be seeing some good news. Observers are pointing to the focus on health care in the current economic stimulus package as boding well for HEMS flights. According to reports, roughly half of all EMS flights are paid for by federal funds. HEMS operators are bracing for new regulations promulgated by the NTSB based on serious concerns over the dramatic increase in fatal accidents over the past two years. While corporate helicopter sales have suffered and offshore oil companies are cutting back on helicopter service due to the low price of oil, the law enforcement sector of the rotorcraft industry joins HEMS as another segment that appears to have largely escaped the throes of the current economic crisis.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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