Helicopter Association International launched a major new safety initiative, Land and Live, this afternoon at Heli-Expo in Anaheim, Calif.
“The philosophy is simple,” said HAI president Matt Zuccaro. “As I read many helicopter accident reports, had the pilot made a precautionary landing at some point the accident never would have happened. It’s kind of odd when you think about it, because people in this industry go around telling everyone how wonderful we are because we have vertical lift capability and can land anywhere. And in fact we do on a routine basis. We land on rooftops, corporate headquarters, private residences, ships, piers and in remote areas.”
He continued, “If we are so good at landing anywhere, how come we don’t use that feature when we need it the most–to prevent an accident? If the weather is closing in, if you are unsure of your ability to reach your fueling point, if there is a maintenance sound or an indication on the panel or if the pilot is not feeling well physically, why not just stop that sequence of events?”
Pilot fears of FAA enforcement actions for making precautionary landings are generally unfounded, Zuccaro said. He said the FAA supports the initiative and so do helicopter companies that support safety cultures. “A precautionary safety landing is almost always a viable option,” he concluded.