The International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) last week published seven important safety tips that boil down to avoid complacency at all costs. First, the group advises, pilots should use pre-departure checklists that include complete weather and fuel information, details about the helicopter’s equipment, performance and the task at hand, including a list of required operational documents. They should use the IMSAFE checklist to assess fitness to fly. Next, they should conduct a solid personal risk assessment before takeoff to be sure the risks of the flight don’t outweigh the benefits.
Avoiding fog and convective weather sounds like common sense, but the team points out that the FAA and NTSB investigate scores of accidents in which the pilot pressed on into questionable weather. To avoid wires, trees and other obstacles, don’t fly below 1,000 feet above the ground. If missions demand flight below this, operate with wire-strike protection systems.
The team reminds pilots to review the aircraft’s emergency procedures manual. Finally, follow the rotorcraft flight manual’s normal procedures, file a flight plan and conduct a thorough preflight briefing for everyone on board, IHST said.