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News > Travis County’s STARFlight program wins American Eurocopter’s 2010 Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award

Travis County’s STARFlight program wins American Eurocopter’s 2010 Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award

October 12, 2010

Grand Prairie, Texas – American Eurocopter is proud to announce that Travis County’s STARFlight program has been selected to receive the fourth annual Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award. STARFlight was chosen for its investment and proactive accomplishments in training and safety initiatives throughout the organization. As part of the award, American Eurocopter presented the program with a check for $10,000 to continue its efforts.

Marc Paganini, President and CEO of American Eurocopter, presented the award and the check to the STARFlight members, during the AMTC Community Awards Banquet. "STARFlight has taken the initiative to incorporate safety as a base part of the culture of its program. The focus on safety and training throughout the organization is impressive and has set a new standard in the industry,” explained Paganini.

STARFlight (Shock Trauma Air Rescue) began operation in 1985 to provide Advanced Life Support response and transport to the citizens in the outlying areas of Travis County. Soon after the program's inception the operation expanded into the more regional basis it is today. In 1993 STARFlight enhanced its operations to include helicopter rescue, land/water rescue, wilderness/SAR (search and rescue), and fire suppression. Scene flights and hospital-to-hospital transfers comprise over ninety percent of STARFlight responses.

The program has stated that it has one major goal: SAFETY. It has endeavored to be the leader in innovation including safety, operational, aircraft systems, maintenance and personal equipment perspectives. 

At the very center of this effort, the program leadership elected to equip its fleet with the most advanced helicopters featuring full Single Pilot IFR capability including dual three axis autopilots and dual Garmin 430/530 Garmin GPS units.  This combination of advanced helicopter and technology helps enable pilots to spend the maximum time and attention to safely fly the aircraft after entering inadvertent instrument conditions. STARFlight feels that this should be one of the main emphases in raising the bar for safe day and night all-weather operations.

The American Eurocopter Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award was started in 2007 to promote aviation safety within the air medical community. A Blue Ribbon Committee, chaired by industry consultant Bill Bryant, reviewed the nominations and selected the winner. “STARFlight’s attention to safety and its focus on training was very impressive,” said Bryant. “This was not just in one area of the program, but across the entire organization. As a public safety organization, STARFlight was not obligated to become certified by the FAA as a part 135 Air Carrier, become CAMTS accredited, or to adopt all of the safety recommendations made by the NTSB, yet they did all of these in the interest of safety. STARFlight sets a tremendous example for other programs and organizations to emulate, both public and private.”
Some of STARFlight’s initiatives include:

While STARFlight was chosen as the 2010 Vision Zero Award winner, Carilion Clinic Life-Guard program and Wisconsin’s Flight for Life program were honorably mentioned because of each program’s commitment to safety and contributions to the industry.

The Blue Ribbon Committee is made up of members with extensive backgrounds in the air medical industry. The 2010 Blue Ribbon Committee members are:

For more information about the Vision Zero program and the American Eurocopter Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award, please visit Association of Air Medical Services website:

For more information on American Eurocopter’s presence at AMTC 2010, see the related coverage from Fort Lauderdale, Florida:

View the Press release archive.

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