Helo Accidents Fall During Pandemic

 - July 13, 2020, 10:51 AM

This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.

Reduced helicopter flight activity has translated into fewer accidents during the first six months, according to data released this morning by the U.S. Helicopter Safety Team (USHST). From January through June 2020, the U.S. industry posted 42 accidents, nine of them fatal. That compares to 69 accidents, 15 of them fatal, for the same period in 2019.

In the first half, the fatal accident rate per 100,000 flight hours was 0.63 versus 0.80 for full-year 2019, according to preliminary data. The USHST partially credited the improvement in reduced flight accidents to Covid-19, estimating that flight activity dropped anywhere from 10 to 30 percent as a result of pandemic-related shutdowns. 

Separately, the USHST announced the addition of three safety experts to its steering committee: Mike Newell, director of aviation safety at Airbus Helicopters; Chris Hill, director of safety for the Helicopter Association International; and Scott Tyrrell, FAA rotorcraft safety and accident investigator. The USHST’s current goal is to reduce the U.S. fatal helicopter accident rate to 0.55 per 100,000 flight hours by 2025.