For 2012, the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) reported 148 rotorcraft accidents in the U.S. The 39 fatalities from those events were spread among three of the most consistently difficult sectors of helicopter operations to monitor: personal/private; instructional/training flights; and aerial application.
In a recent letter, IHST member Lee Roskop said that the numbers simply reaffirm the uncomfortable reality that pilot lapses in judgment and decision making lead to most accidents.
“Perhaps most disturbing is that the FAA estimates these three sectors account for a low percentage of the overall U.S. rotorcraft hours flown,” and that translates into a high accident rate per flight hour. Roskop said, “The combined 2012 accident total for EMS, air tours and offshore transport [for example] was less than half the number of accidents in the personal/private sector alone.”
The IHST recently initiated a new grassroots educational effort with the help of Robinson Helicopter and Bristow Academy designed to continue delivering the safety message to pilots in training.