U.S. Helo Safety Team Offers Case Studies for Survival

 - April 28, 2020, 10:23 PM

The U.S. Helicopter Safety Team (USHST) has released a new recommended practice guide with suggested training scenarios designed to mitigate risk and improve decision making. USHST's new guide contains materials for lesson plans using actual fatal helicopter accidents precipitated by flawed decisions that placed the aircraft at risk.

Scenarios include loss of rotor rpm in autorotation; loss of tail rotor effectiveness; spatial disorientation; unintended flight in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC); low-altitude wire strike; and low-altitude engine failure. The practice resources are suitable for use for both private and commercial helicopter flight training, including private, commercial, CFI, designated examiners, training center evaluators, and FAA safety inspectors.

To help further, the guide also suggests applicable methods of interjecting training scenarios into lesson plans including setting up training events based on the accident scenario. The guide and its five annexes can be found at either the USHST website or that of the International Helicopter Safety Foundation

Notable fatal accidents mentioned in the guide include the 2009 crash in California of a nighttime medevac flight due to pilot spatial disorientation and a widely-reported New Mexico State Police helicopter accident that occurred after the non-instrument rated pilot attempted to take off into IMC.