The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is stepping up efforts to improve helicopter operational safety after adding this to its Most Wanted list of goals for increased awareness and advocacy.
In a January 14 statement, the NTSB said that between January 2003 and May 2013 there were 1,470 helicopter accidents, resulting in 477 fatalities and 274 serious injuries. The Board is concerned that helicopter accidents will continue to happen unless a concerted effort is made to improve the safety of rotary-wing operations.
“Reducing fatalities related to helicopter accidents is a top priority at the FAA,” said the agency in a written statement to AIN. “The FAA is in the final stages of completing a rule that addresses a wide variety of helicopter operations, including helicopter air ambulances, commercial helicopters and general aviation helicopters. Many of the requirements of this rule will address the Safety Board’s recommendations. We will continue to work aggressively with the Board to improve aviation safety.”
The U.S. civil helicopter industry continues to see strong growth and demand for emergency medical services, law enforcement support, electronic newsgathering and offshore oil and gas support in particular.