The European helicopter safety team (Ehest) released the preliminary results of the first European-wide helicopter accident study on October 13, during a conference in Cascais, Portugal. The Ehest is now transitioning from analysis to the development of an action plan. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce the helicopter accident rate by 80 percent by 2016, consistent with the goals of the international helicopter safety team (IHST).
Rotorcraft design has reached a plateau and advancements are taking place in incremental steps rather than as major breakthroughs. That was the prevailing message of a day-long workshop about the past, present and future of rotorcraft held at the University of Maryland’s Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center.
Bell 407, Newberry, S.C., July 13, 2004–The NTSB blamed the EMS helicopter accident on the pilot’s failure to maintain terrain clearance as a result of fog conditions. A contributing factor was inadequate weather and dispatch information relayed to him.
With the goal of flight testing the system next year, BAE Systems recently signed a second contract with Mercury Computer Systems of Chelmsford, Mass., to provide its VistaNav synthetic-vision technology to create a rotorcraft brownout landing system. Award of the first contract was announced in March.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has just completed the demonstration of a new piloting aid known as Pathfinder.
Helicopter maker Sikorsky Aircraft has tapped Honeywell to develop synthetic-vision technology for Black Hawk pilots landing in brownout conditions. The $6.9 million contract is part of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) so-called Sandblaster program.
MBB BK 117, Ponce de Leon, Fla., June 22, 2006–Landing off airport, about 10 miles north of Ponce de Leon, the skid-equipped BK 117 hit trees and was substantially damaged. It was night and the EMS helicopter was en route with two paramedics to a rural area to meet an ambulance and fireman with a maternity patient.
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