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Carilion Clinic Life-Guard - Non-injury incident

Date: April 2, 2010 2015 hours 

Program: Carilion Clinic Life-Guard
	431 McClanahan St
	Roanoke VA 24014

Type: EC 135
Tail #: N135LG
Operator/Vendor: Air Methods

Weather: Clear. Not a factor

Team: Pilot, Flight Nurse, and Flight Paramedic. No injuries reported. No patient. 

	Crew had completed a transport flight to Wake Forest University
	Baptist Medical Center.  During their start-up to leave the hospital,
	the flight nurse stated that she thought she noted a ?flash? in the
	rear of the aircraft.  It was later determined that the likely cause
	was the pilot?s lip-light reflecting in the window as he turned his
	A few moments after lift off the paramedic (located in the co-pilot
	seat)  was ?eyes out of the cockpit? and glanced in the cockpit.  He
	noted a flicker in the instrument panel,   This was called out to the
	pilot and the pilot confirmed seeing the same flicker.  Within the
	next minute or two all three crew noted a smell consistent with hot
	electrical cord insulation.  All three crewmembers state the smell
	became stronger and they experienced a burning sensation to their
	eyes.  The crew was just on the radio coverage border that they would
	transition to the CCPT Communications Center.  At this point
	Life-Guard 11 was still in North Carolina and being flight followed by
	another HEMS Agency. 
	The pilot began his checklist process, all gauges were normal, no
	abnormal readings, no alarms, or lights were noted.  Concerned with
	the strong smell and burning to his eyes, he advised the medic to
	communicate a precautionary landing with medical flight following. 
	This was declared at 2021 hours.    The closest airport was Mt Airy
	and made a heading to that location, noted 5 miles away.  
	Pilot turned off the air conditioning, which gave him some relief from
	the burning sensation and smell; however, the medic did not notice any
	relief from the smell and burning sensation.  The nurse noted some of
	the medical equipment was charging  and some were not, in the rear of
	the aircraft.  The flight nurse (rear) unplugged all equipment.
	Upon landing at Mt Airy at 2036 hours, a local fire department
	apparatus was on standby.  A normal landing and shutdown was executed,
	oxygen was shutoff and all crew exited the aircraft with fire
	extinguishers in hand.  
	Aircraft Mechanic and relief pilot arrived at Mt Airy Airport at 2231
	hours to troubleshoot the aircraft.  A CCPT ground ambulance was
	dispatched to pick up medical equipment and medical crew.  Unable to
	recreate the occurrence, the decision was made to return the aircraft
	to its home base.

Additional Info: 
	The Carilion Clinic Senior Director, Outreach Manager and Safety
	Officer arrived at the Life Guard 11 base.  Upon the arrival of the
	Pilot and the flight crew a debriefing was held.  
	Key Points:
	?	Clear concise and complete communication occurred between
	crewmembers, Air Care and Carilion Communications Specialist.  All
	involved were pro-active in sharing information. 
	?	The pilot and medical crew de-briefed the event after exiting the
	?	Communication between flight following, the airport FBO, fire
	department apparatus, and CCPT was open and smooth.
	?	Due to the hold over, the pilot will not be able to return for his
	next shift until approximately 1130hours on April 2, 2010
	?	The medical crew seems to be visibly fatigued, due to the level of
	activity, length of call and evidence of fatigue the decision was made
	to put the medical crew out of service for the remainder of their
	?	Life-Guard 11 will plan to return to service after the arrival of
	the daylight shift and the daylight pilot. This is expected to occur
	at approximately noon on April 2, 2010.
	?	The debriefing panel and crew agreed that all executed decisions
	were appropriate and timely. 
	?	The issue could not be recreated and the aircraft was placed back in
	service, after investigation and inspection from the AMC maintenance
	?	It is noted that there have been similar reports from other EC135
	helicopters and the air conditioner blower was suspected.  N135LG air
	conditioner blower did not reveal any issues.  

Source: Kevin W. Peters, Safety Officer

The CONCERN network shares verified information to alert medical transport
programs when an accident / incident has occurred. Please share the above
information with your program staff. If you have further questions, please
contact the CONCERN Coordinator, David Kearns at 800 525 3712 or email:

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