A new international safety team that aims to improve helicopter safety by a factor of five could be ready to start work by this summer. A draft charter for the organization was approved last month, and an industry briefing is scheduled to take place during Heli-Expo.
In September, more than 250 industry representatives attended a safety symposium in Montreal to discuss the need for such an effort to reduce civil and military accidents. A planning group had previously set the goal of reducing the industry-wide accident rate by 80 percent within 10 years.
Mike Kriebel, senior vice president of the Aviation Underwriters Association, confirms that there is work to be done. Depending on the sector, 2004 U.S. rotorcraft statistics indicate rates of between 2.2 and 8.1 accidents per 100,000 flight hours. The U.S. Part 121 accident rate is 0.16.
“If we are to reduce the helicopter accident rate by 80 percent,” said Kriebel, “we must bring it down to 1.6 per 100,000 hours.”
American Helicopter Society chairman Dr. Bud Forster said, “This is not a one-shot effort to provide short-term gratification–it will be a life-work because lives depend on our success.”