The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) has issued a new white paper that focuses on ways to avoid weather-related helicopter accidents. The group proposes a comprehensive, five-point strategy to improve commercial VFR helicopter safety for passenger operations.
Key recommendations include implementing regular risk identification and mitigation/management strategies, as well as tools to improve or develop an organizational safety culture; improving pilot decision making and adherence to procedures, including training on how to safely fly out of marginal weather and the use of single-pilot resource management and small flight recorders; establishing procedures for more consistent go/no-go decisions that include enforcement of weather minimums, limiting late flight plan changes, and using a process to inform customers of cancellations/postponements; educating customers via mandatory preflight weather and safety briefings; and enhancing regulatory oversight by mandating all commercial operations be flown under Part 135 rules and work with small operators to develop SMS, risk assessment, weather training, and flight data monitoring programs.
The paper noted that there “needs to be a sense of urgency” to the problem of safety with the active participation of operators, manufacturers, regulators, and consumers to reduce the fatal helicopter accident rate. "Fatal crashes continue to happen with tragic regularity," the FSF said.