Helicopter Industry Wants to Reduce Accidents by 80 percent

 - June 11, 2012, 4:40 PM
Using a successful program introduced in 1998 as its model, IHST wants to reduce helicopter accidents by 80 percent. (Photo courtesy HAI)

Kim Smith, representing the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST), said the group, “wants to reduce helicopter accidents 80 percent by 2016.”

IHST released a sub-committee report last week, calling on the entire helicopter industry for help in achieving this goal. After analyzing 523 accidents that occurred in 2000, 2001 and 2006, IHST found that single-engine turbine helicopters accounted for half the accidents analyzed, while multi-engine turbines represented another 10 percent. The remainder were piston-powered rotorcraft.

The results, when measured by industry type, showed nearly 20 percent of all helicopter accidents fell into the personal/private transportation category, while 18 percent occurred during instructional or training operations. Despite high-profile media attention, only eight percent of helicopter accidents were attributable to emergency medical services operations. Seventy percent of the accidents occurred under Part 91 operations, with fully 41 percent involving loss of control.

Smith, who is also an FAA employee, said the IHST uses three important guidelines in its work: solutions need to be driven by actual accident data; the helicopter community stakeholders from each region [of the world] must perform the analyses; and safety improvement recommendations must be measurable. Offering insight to the statistics, she told AIN, “We are not finding new ways to kill people in helicopters. We are making the same mistakes over and over again.”

Composed of rotorcraft manufacturers, government and safety organizations from around the world, the IHST adopted the “80 percent” idea from the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST), which pioneered the idea in 1998 and helped reduce the commercial aviation fatality by 83 percent in 2008. 


How may I contribute to these efforts? I have 10 years of aviation experience and am currently flying in Afghanistan. I will be returning to the states in November '12 and would like to contribute.


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