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Another Reader’s comments….

Posted 4 years 99 days ago ago by Randy Mains

Randy, I concur with all your points you bring up about the Ohio Survival Flight 14 accident that you detailed in your January / February 2020 column entitled “Case Study.”   I flew for Survival Flight 4 base out if Batesville Arkansas next to their HQ for 9 months. During my time there, I experienced pressure to fly; I was admonished for bringing up maintenance issues as well as questioning the crew endurance policies that were routinely violated by the Lead Pilot. I retired from the Army as CW4 IP, ASO in 2009.

I flew for Air Evac Life Team for almost 8 yrs. and never experienced the blatant violations of unsafe aviation practices that I observed at Survival Flight. I expressed my concerns to the Little Rock FAA POI (principal operations inspector) shortly thereafter my termination from SF in Aug 2018. I was fired for not proceeding into IIMC weather and storms in northern Arkansas, on a patient transport.  I was told by management I was fired for “poor judgement” and my firing was a “business decision “. I saluted smartly and stated “I’m glad you guys fired me because I (and my crew) would rather be alive than fly in this outfit.”

Subsequent, I was contacted by media after the SF14 accident by Columbus, OH in Jan 2019. I was interviewed via skype and expressed my concerns, similar to what you described in your article. Anyhow, thank you for all the work you do and please feel free to use my email in any of your articles or training.


Brett F Ogburn

CW4 USA ret/ex HAA Pilot

Hi Brett

Thank you for taking the time to write and share your ideas regarding my article entitled Case Study about the Survival Flight 14 crash in Iowa.  You are one of several people who have reached out to offer their views which align with yours, (and mine) regarding the caustic and extremely dangerous culture demonstrated at that SF 14 base.  Obviously with your vast experience as an Army aviator, when pressured, you quickly spotted hazardous behavior that could (and indeed did) cause people to lose their lives and kudos to you for not falling into that pressure trap that would violate your extremely good judgment.

I am glad to hear you report that you flew for AEL for almost 8 yrs. and never experienced the blatant violations of unsafe aviation practices, as you observed at Survival Flight. You may know Janie Foster?  She is a good friend so hearing your support for the company’s safety effort gladdens my soul.

As I am sure you are aware, you are well served to be out of an outfit that pressured you to fly in weather you knew, as a professional, put you and your crew at grave risk.  I am extremely proud of you for speaking up, standing your ground and saying “NO!” That is something I wish more pilots would do in similar situations.  It would be laughable if it were not so scary and sad that management told you that you were let go for poor judgment.  I am glad you saluted smartly and left and that you are no longer working for them.

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.  I may just take you up on your kind offer to use your email in any further safety articles or training.  I do appreciate it. 

I don’t know if you know this, but I also write a monthly blog in justhelicopters.com and I often include letters like yours from folks who comment on articles I have written.  I have logged yours as one I may use in the near future. Meanwhile, continue to be safe and take care,


Randy Mains is an author, public speaker, and a CRM/AMRM consultant who works in the helicopter industry after a long career of aviation adventure. He currently serves as chief CRM/AMRM instructor for Oregon Aero. He may be contacted at [email protected].