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Editor's Letter - What a Difference Six Months Can Make

Posted 3 years 58 days ago ago by Admin

“My only point is to remind those of us who receive the benefits of altruistic servants to be thankful for their desire to do some of the dirtiest work on the planet. Every day (not once or twice in a lifetime, but every day) these amazing people intentionally put themselves into the most dangerous situations and environments. They inject themselves into people’s lives at the lowest points, when people are most scared, most sick, and generally at their worst. They do this repeatedly to help someone in need, to make that person’s life better.”

The quote above was something I wrote in my editor’s letter for the 2015 issue of Rotorcraft Pro. It was our EMS/Air Ambulance issue for that year and I was just back from doing some missionary work in Haiti and flying with Ayiti Air Ambulance for a feature story. Fast forward to 2020 (I think it’s officially the year from Hell) and I am reminded once again about the amazing people who make up the ranks of our caregivers and first responders. Hot days, dark nights. Tight landing zones in remote locations. Stressful trauma calls. TB, hepatitis, HIV, and now COVID-19. It all adds up and the people in our industry still step up to serve others.

Inside this issue we take a deep dive into the long and rich history of civil helicopter air ambulance. It has been a fairly steady sector for the helicopter industry for more than seven decades. This is due in large part to the tenacity of its players and their desire to get better all the time. Two decades ago when I flew EMS, hardly anyone flew with NVGs. Now it’s the standard.

We dedicate this issue to those crews in the air ambulance sector who serve the rest of us. Even in this COVID-19 environment, you still come to the rescue in our worst moments. Thank you!

On a macro-level, six months ago, with the exception of some personnel shortages and some struggling in the oil fields, our industry was humming along as fit as a fiddle with all sectors healthy. Then the virus hit and changed everything in an instant. Tourism was injured by travel restrictions. Quarantined people not driving reduced demand for gasoline, which impacts operators in the Gulf of Mexico. Airlines stopped flying and sent pilots who previously flew helicopters running back to our industry, which created an oversupply. Add to the mix, nationwide civil unrest with a “defund the police” movement and even public safety sectors came under the budget cut axe. All this in six months. I have never seen anything like it.

Having said that, Rotorcraft Pro is still producing it’s 13th annual HeliSuccess Career Development Seminar in webinar format, along with a three-day virtual job fair. The free event will be held October 27-29. To learn more, visit bit.ly/HeliSuccess_2020. Although hiring is not as strong as in 2019 prior to COVID-19, many companies are hiring!