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AirLife Denver - Non-injury incident

Date: 01/29/2013 1240 MST

Program: AirLife Denver
	750 Potomac Street, Suite 201
	Aurora, CO 80011

Type: Lear 31
Tail #: 382AL
Operator/Vendor: International Jet

Weather: Clear, Snowed the night before, Temp just above freezing

Team: Pilot, Co-Pilot, Flight Nurse, Flight Nurse. No injuries reported. No patient. 

	On the 29th on January at approximately 11:32, the HROB team was
	dispatched on a fix wing call to Alamosa, CO from Centennial, CO. 
	Weather was discussed utilizing the S.T.O.P. (safety time out
	procedure) prior to flight and crew was briefed on runway conditions
	and potential for icing and gear retraction issues.  The conditions at
	the departure airport KAPA (Centennial) were just right to contribute
	to collecting slush on the wheels and landing gear during the taxi
	out.  Recognizing these conditions, the crew followed best practices
	in delaying gear retraction (this usually helps blow off collected ice
	and slush).  Afterwards the pilots attempted to retract the landing
	gear and quickly recognized that not all the slush had been removed
	from the landing gear.  Due to the squat switch being frozen, the
	aircraft systems were in ground mode.  This safety system not only
	stopped the landing gear from being retracted but also influenced
	another safety system in the pressurization.
	Because the aircraft systems thought the aircraft was still on the
	ground, the pressurization system did not know why the aircraft was
	climbing.  As a result, a safety feature was activated introducing
	extra cabin pressure.  This is often loud, warm/hot and very hard to
	communicate over.  It was at this time the pilots were working with
	ATC to return to KAPA, they were given numerous vectors and altitude
	changes while being re-routed back.  Since this system uses direct
	bleed air from the engines and is routed throughout the aircraft
	especially to the cockpit, it can be difficult to communicate between
	pilots due to the noise, in addition to talking to ATC and having a
	higher workload returning to KAPA.
	The pilots felt they did not have time to discuss this issue in-flight
	and felt that any questions were answered once on the ground and
	before launching in backup aircraft.  Team also debriefed with admin
	on-call and all OK to continue with mission.  Transport completed in
	backup aircraft without further issues.
	Maintenance confirmed that a frozen squat switch was the culprit and
	the aircraft has been de-thawed, inspected and returned to service.

Additional Info: 
	Lessons Learned:
	S.T.O.P. procedure was followed and concern was briefed Pre-Flight
	Crew voiced anxiety of not knowing what was happening; however,
	clearly understands the primary focus of pilots is safety of flight.
	No pressure perceived to complete mission and launch second jet.
	Pilot vocalized clearly to crew his priority to ?slow down? and
	perform thorough inspection/walk around of second jet.  Crew member
	accompanied pilot on walk around.
	PAIP activated appropriately.
	Good coordination between communication specialists and admin on
	Communication specialists, crew and pilots all felt situation handled

Source: Casey Zeigler, Safety Officer

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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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