American Eurocopter appoints 2011 Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award Blue Ribbon Committee

American Eurocopter appoints 2011 Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award Blue Ribbon Committee

7-Jul-2011 Source: American Eurocopter

Grand Prairie, Texas – American Eurocopter announced today that it has appointed the 2011 Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award Blue Ribbon Committee. This committee will be responsible for evaluating the applications and determining the winner for the 2011 Vision Zero Aviation Safety award.

This prestigious award was established by American Eurocopter with the purpose of promoting a higher level of safety within the air medical industry. As part of the award, American Eurocopter contributes up to $10,000 to the winner of the award to further develop aviation safety initiatives within its organization. This will be the fifth year for the award.

In 2010, Travis County’s STARFlight program was selected to receive the award for its investment and proactive accomplishments in training and safety initiatives throughout the organization.

All programs and operators who are members of the Association of Air Medical Service (AAMS) are eligible to apply for the Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award and may nominate themselves. Application forms are now available on the AAMS website ( To be considered for the 2011 award, completed forms must be received by August 1, 2011 (instructions are included on the form). Once the forms have been submitted, the 2011 Blue Ribbon Committee will review the applications and select this year’s winner.

Each member of the committee has extensive background within the air medical industry:

Bill Bryant MPA/HSA (Chairman)

Mr. Bryant is the president and principal of Sierra Health Group, a national healthcare consulting firm based in Golden, Colorado.  Mr. Bryant has over 25 years experience in the air medical industry and has worked on consulting projects in over 30 states.  He is a prior AAMS Board member and officer.

Denise Landis, RN, EMT-P, MSA, CMTE
Ms. Landis has been in the air ambulance industry over 25 years, is the Program Director for the University of Michigan Survival Flight, and is also a past President of the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS).  She is the current Chairperson of the Medical Transport Leadership Institute (MTLI), the current President of Michigan AAMS, and the president-elect of Michigan Association Ambulance Services.

Eileen Frazer, RN, CMTE
Ms. Frazer has been the Executive Director of CAMTS since its inception in 1990.  Frazer has published many articles and chapters related to safety and medical transport operations and has a regular feature in the Air Med Journal entitled “Ask CAMTS”.

Ed MacDonald
Mr. MacDonald has over 40 years experience flying patients, beginning in 1970 as a combat medical evacuation pilot and including 17 years of experience as an active EMS Pilot. He has held positions as a Chief Pilot, Safety Manager, and Lead Pilot.  He is a retired U.S. Army Major and is past President of NEMSPA, the Co-Chair of the AAMS/CORE Safety Committee, and current Chairman of AMSAC.

Clark Kurschner
Mr. Kurschner is the Director of Operations for Omniflight Helicopters, Inc.  His duties during his thirty plus-year career at Omniflight include EMS line pilot, a flight instructor, a check airman and Chief Pilot. He is a member of the AAMS Safety Committee, the HAI Flight Operations Committee, the HAI Air Medical Committee, and past Chairman of AMSAC.

Gerry Pagano
Mr. Pagano is the Director of Medical Transport & Aeromedical Facilities for the Health Care District of Palm Beach County’s Trauma Hawk Aeromedical Program in West Palm Beach, Florida.  He has over 30 years experience in aviation operations, including combat flight assignment, air traffic control, and emergency medical services, and consults on air carrier certification. Mr. Pagano has been certified as an Aviation Safety Program Manager at the Transportation Safety Institute, currently serves on the AAMS Board, and is the Chairman of the AAMS Safety Committee.

Jason Schwebach MBA, MHA, CMTE
Mr. Schwebach is the Administrative Director for MedCenter Air, the transport service for Carolinas Healthcare System in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He is a former military medical service corps officer and helicopter pilot with both the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force and has been in the air medical industry for 18 years.  He is a CAMTS site surveyor and immediate past president of the North Carolina Air-Medical Affiliation.

Joe Syslo
Mr. Syslo is the Senior Manager, Fleet Safety, for American Eurocopter. He is a retired US Army Aviator and Commercial Pilot who has flown helicopters for the last 42 years in a variety of applications, including HEMS. He has been a Chief Pilot for a Part 135 company and an ARNG CW4 ASO and is also retired from Bell Helicopter, where he was a Senior Aircraft Accident Investigator and Aviation Safety Specialist. Mr. Syslo is actively involved in the International Helicopter Safety Team, whose goal is to reduce helicopter accidents 80% by 2016.

For more information on the American Eurocopter Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award, please visit or

About American Eurocopter
American Eurocopter is the U.S. affiliate of Eurocopter, the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world, and a subsidiary of EADS North America Holdings, the North American operations of EADS, the second largest aerospace and defense company in the world. American Eurocopter is a helicopter manufacturer and markets, sells and supports the broadest range of civil and para-public helicopters offered by any manufacturer. The product line represents the most cost-effective, technologically-advanced helicopters, ranging from light single to heavy twin, serving all markets and missions. American Eurocopter’s headquarters and main facility are in Grand Prairie, TX, with a large manufacturing and production facility in Columbus, MS.

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