The U.S. Helicopter Safety Team (USHST) has finished analyzing the root causes of fatal accidents and has developed 22 measurable safety enhancements. They are grouped into four categories: IMC and visibility; loss of control; safety management; and competency.
Within the topic of IMC and visibility, the USHST will be working to implement safety enhancements within four industry sectors: personal/private, air ambulance, commercial and aerial application. The enhancements include the detection and management of risk changes, threat and error management training, enhanced helicopter vision systems and recognition of and recovery from spatial disorientation.
With regard to detecting and managing risk level changes, the USHST will develop and promote recommended practices for pilots and nonflying crewmembers to detect elevated risk levels during the course of a flight, effectively communicate that risk level to each other and make a decision about the appropriate mitigation. As to threat and error management training, the USHST has committed to developing best practices for, and promoting the teaching of, threat and error management as part of initial and recurrent pilot training.
The USHST will research, develop and promote the use of enhanced helicopter vision systems (EHVS) such as night-vision goggles, enhanced vision systems and combined vision systems to assist in recognizing and preventing unplanned flight into degraded visibility and to improve safety during planned night flights. Training will be developed for recognizing spatial disorientation and recovering to controlled flight by using all available on-aircraft resources and automation, such as broader use of the autopilot.
The USHST said it will be announcing more safety enhancements soon. The organization remains focused on reducing fatal civil helicopter accidents, targeting a reduction to 0.61 fatal accidents per 100,000 flight hours by 2019 and a rate of 0.69 per 100,000 flight hours this year.