Medevac Flights Under Scrutiny May Go Hi-Tech

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The pilots often fly in conditions similar to what caused the accident to which they're responding, but thirty-seven people died in 12 crashes during medical-evacuation flights last year, and the FAA and NTSB now are working on recommendations to improve the safety record. Night flying and weather have been cited as the most common causes. One step that's expected is that the FAA may require pilots to fly with night-vision goggles after dark. "I think the FAA is a little late getting on board," rescue pilot Will Eldredge told the Channel 3 News in Idaho Falls, Idaho, last week. "People have been pushing for goggles for many, many years." Eldredge said the goggles amplify existing light -- starlight, moonlight or city lights -- as much as 2,000 to 3,500 times. The FAA is also considering if air ambulance flights should be required to have Terrain Awareness Warning Systems, and also may require more pilot training. (Perhaps including what to do when targeted by a laser while wearing night-vision goggles.)