Aviation Safety Letter 2/2005

The End of an Era, and Another Begins

In 1976, the Aviation Safety Bureau of Transport Canada began producing a small publication called Helicopter Accidents as a sister publication to the Aviation Safety Letter. The first issue was just over a page long, and gave a brief synopsis of six helicopter accidents. As the publication grew, it began to dig a little deeper, and included discussion that went beyond the narrative in the accident synopsis.

Issue 10/79 saw the name changed to Aviation Safety Vortex, a name that has carried on for over 25 years, and has become somewhat of a cultural icon in the Canadian helicopter industry. The publication has even worked its way into the vernacular of Canadian pilots, as we hear people say "That's a good way to get yourself in the Vortex," or, "So far I've managed to stay off the back page of Vortex." I recall when I started flying in 1981, my instructor telling me to "stay out of the Vortex."

Well, times change, and we're changing, too. Transport Canada is creating one quarterly safety journal, which will encompass its three flagship safety publications - the Aviation Safety Letter, Aviation Safety Maintainer, and Aviation Safety Vortex - as well as bringing back material previously found in the Airspace Newsletter. At the time of this writing, the new journal had yet to be named. It is hoped that this new magazine will be ready for distribution in late summer 2005.

For the past 29 years, Vortex has had a considerable, albeit intangible, impact on helicopter safety in Canada and abroad. In addition to our core distribution to all holders of a Canadian helicopter pilot licence, supplemental subscribers include pilots and organizations from around the world. Vortex articles have been quoted and reproduced in numerous magazines and safety publications, referenced in safety books, and used as classroom material.

In addition to being an important source of safety information, Vortex has provided a forum for us to share our experiences with others. Some of those stories have been funny - like the one where a pilot's haste to keep up with the competition ended up with his water bucket getting tangled in a tree - and some have been tragic, but they have all contained valuable lessons. I hope you will continue to contribute to the new journal - those submissions will remain an important part of getting the safety message out there.

On behalf of the entire helicopter community, past and present, I'd like to thank my predecessors for building and shaping Vortex over the years, and turning it into the world-class safety resource that it has become. The new journal will attempt to carry on that tradition, and we hope that you - the helicopter industry - will continue to read and support it.

I'd also like to thank the readership for their interest and feedback during my time at the helm of Vortex. It has been an interesting three years, and I have enjoyed interacting with all of you.

Brad Vardy
Editor, Aviation Safety Vortex

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