...Or Going Far Enough...

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Hall added that the FAA should extend the TAWS requirement to helicopters, which are currently exempt. "[Helicopters] fly lower and are therefore even more at risk from terrain and obstacles," Hall wrote. "Ten crashes involving helicopters flying into terrain have occurred in 2004, killing 35 people. Tragically, many of these accidents involve medical evacuation helicopters that collide with the ground or with buildings or power lines as they speed to or from a hospital, trying to save a patient's life. This combination of speed and the hazardous environment they operate in has too often been deadly for flight crews, patients and bystanders." Hall also said a unified common database of all dangerous terrain and obstacles should be created to replace the current patchwork. Many current databases are out of date, some are inaccurate and most are incomplete. "Lives are being lost needlessly," he wrote. Hall was the NTSB chairman from 1994 to 2001, and now is managing partner of Hall & Associates consulting firm in Washington, D.C.