NTSB Chair: ‘Zero Accidents’ Achievable in Helo Ops

 - February 13, 2012, 3:35 PM

Speaking at the opening session at Heli-Expo yesterday, NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman, praised Helicopter Association International (HAI) for its creation of the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) and its new Safety Accreditation Program. She also challenged HAI members to continue efforts to promote Safety Management Systems (SMS) through IHST’s SMS Toolkit. When asked about NTSB’s contributions to IHST efforts, Hersman was quick to clarify: “You know we do not sit on committees, such as IHST, as voting members. That is something that HAI, FAA and the helicopter industry created together. However we’ve seen that SMS, and particularly data collection, can be helpful in reaching the NTSB’s goal of zero fatalities.” Hersman gave example of the commercial fixed-wing industry, “where people didn’t think we could get to zero fatalities. And now we’ve had a couple of years where we did indeed get there. That can be attributed to CAST, the Commercial Aviation Safety Team, which really identified things that needed to be done and solutions to get to that target.” Hersman sees IHST as comparable to CAST. “So, when people think it is pie-in-the-sky, and you can’t get to zero, well, I think you can,” she concluded.