Mountain West Helicopters and Baldwin Aviation Collaborate to Qualify for HAI Safety Accreditation Program

Hilton Head Island, SC — Mountain West Helicopters and Baldwin Aviation, headquartered on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, announced today that they are collaborating on obtaining IS-BAO registration for the Alpine, Utah-based flight operation under a new program launched recently by the Helicopter Association International (HAI) and the International Business Aircraft Council (IBAC). Baldwin is highly experienced in assisting flight departments — both small and large—in establishing and implementing the type of Safety Management Systems (SMS) necessary to achieve accreditation under the HAI/IBAC guidelines proposed by the two organizations at the annual Heli-Expo in February. The helicopter safety accreditation program will follow the precedent introduced by IBAC in 2002, the International Standard for Business Aviation Operations (IS-BAO). Applicants for accreditation can begin applying in June, HAI said.

“We are very pleased to be working with Baldwin Aviation on IS-BAO registration,” said Bryan Burr, President of Mountain West Helicopters. “We consider it an honor to be the first helicopter operators to do so and this is a very practical consideration for us, too, since IS-BAO certification will lend even more credibility and strength to our commitment to managing risk appropriately and providing the safest and most reliable operations possible. We are heavily involved in government suppression, post fire reclamation, remote area aerial construction, and other demanding helicopter operations. That means operating in highly varied terrain, at low airspeeds with heavy external loads — not going straight and level for three hours from one airport to another — so we feel it’s imperative to have a well-defined, industry-leading safety and risk management system in place. Baldwin Aviation provides us with the expertise and tailored approach that we need to meet the IS-BAO standards,” Burr added.

Mountain West Helicopters flies the very first Kaman K1200 KMAX helicopter sold to a commercial operator, acquiring it new in 1995. They have accumulated more than 20,000 hours on the airframe, primarily in fire fighting and timber harvesting operations throughout the Intermountain West. They have also flown operations on both coasts. They currently have aircraft based in Hamilton and Bozeman, Montana, as well.

“We don’t need to wait until June to begin assisting operators in the development of Safety Management Systems, or creating programs that will meet IS-BAO standards,” said Don Baldwin, CEO and founder of Baldwin Aviation. “We already have an established reputation for developing tools to help helicopter and fixed wing flight organizations keep track of the myriad of requirements that are part of managing a safe and efficient operation. We’re the first and only firm of our kind to achieve IS-BAO Registration for our safety program, receiving certification in February 2007. We work with our clients to tailor our online, proprietary Safety Management Systems to their specific operational requirements providing proven techniques, established resources, and consistent monitoring of operations,” he added.

Baldwin explained that “IS-BAO establishes a code of best practices which essentially structures ISO 9000 principles to apply to aviation safety. It is a continuous improvement program that prescribes an audit every two years and stimulates an ongoing self-audit program to ensure currency and relevance.”

Baldwin was among the featured speakers at this year’s Heli-Expo Operator Management Course. He discussed Safety Management Systems in a presentation on Thursday entitled “Taking the Mystery Out of SMS.” A former chairman of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and manager of both Texaco’s and Coca Cola’s flight departments, he established Baldwin Aviation in 2004. It has consistently worked with small and start-up flight operations on the development and implementation of SMS programs. “We know that there are a lot of small helicopter operations that have no SMS or may have taken the first steps towards establishing a safety management program, but they aren’t fully equipped or staffed to stay current with all the safety-related information and regulations,” Baldwin pointed out. “To help them, we’ve created what we call SMSplus®. It’s an on-line, turnkey, flexible and affordable program that will help them fill in the gaps.”

SMSplus® includes a Safety Management System (SMS) manual, safety risk profiles, risk assessments, operational alerts, communication and document bulletin boards and access to Baldwin’s Safety Barometer® and electronic library. Fees for the SMSplus® package are based on the number of aircraft and participants.

“HAI and IBAC indicated that they are willing to ‘tie in’ their accreditation program with existing audit programs, “ Baldwin noted. “That means that HAI safety accreditation will conform to the ICAO framework and future Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. Obviously, obtaining HAI registration will be a benefit. There are also other practical benefits of proactive safety management -- and they can be measured in time savings, increased operational efficiency — and dollars. Insurance companies often acknowledge the benefits of a well-defined program by reducing their rates for operators. Consistent monitoring of procedures and overall management of operations usually translate into competitive advantages, too,” he stated.

About Baldwin Aviation

Baldwin Aviation’s staff combines more than a century of business aviation experience to offer valuable safety programs, mentoring, and support to rotary and fixed wing flight organizations, regardless of size. Its products also include BSC, RotorSMS®, SafetyGauge® programs for flight department startups and its safetysherpa® mentoring program designed for evolving flight organizations. Visit for more information.

About Mountain West Helicopters

Mountain West Helicopters, LLC is a Utah company organized in 1995. It owns and operates a Kaman K-1200 KMAX helicopter and a Bell UH-1H. Mountain West averages more than 1800 hours of operation on it each year. Both helicopters are under contract to the U.S. Forest Service. Bryan Burr has been involved in the helicopter industry for over 30 years. Mountain West’s highly experienced pilots have worked for the company since its inception, providing exceptional expertise in high altitude, heavy lifting operations. For more information, visit Mountain West’s website at