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BEST OF INDUSTRY @


SAFETY By Steve Sparks


Since 2013, the U.S. Helicopter Safety Team (www.ushst.org) has enjoyed success in seeing helicopter accidents decrease significantly in nearly every segment of the helicopter industry. Through its efforts and by increasing safety awareness, total helicopter accidents have actually decreased by 52 percent over the last 10 years. Additionally, over that period fatal accidents are down 41 percent, while the fatal accident rate is down 60 percent.


As a regional partner to the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST), the USHST has focused most of its attention in the past on increasing safety awareness in areas such as safety management, low-level aviation, pilot training, human factors, and weather reporting. This is great progress, but the USHST is not resting until it sees even greater improvement. By utilizing a data-driven approach, the USHST conducts safety analysis of helicopter accidents to help prevent similar accidents from happening in the future.


NO RESTING ON SUCCESS FOR U.S. HELICOPTER SAFETY TEAM


20 by 2020


The USHST’s goal is to reduce fatal helicopter accidents 20 percent by 2020. Recently, the USHST completed a comprehensive analysis of U.S. fatal accidents occurring from 2009 to 2013. This data will be used to develop specific intervention recommendations to support further accident reduction goals in all segments of the helicopter industry. Out of 104 fatal accidents that took place during this 5-year span, 50 percent of them stemmed from three major “occurrence” categories: loss of control, unintended flight into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), and low-altitude operations. Beginning soon, ad hoc teams from the USHST will develop safety recommendations aimed at mitigating fatal accidents caused by these three categories.


A recommendations list and action plan will be completed by early 2017. The USHST also plans to increase its outreach efforts to help support key areas experiencing the largest number of fatal helicopter accidents: personal/private rotorcraft, helicopter air ambulance (HAA), commercial helicopter operations, and aerial application. Special outreach groups will identify points of contact within these industry segments, involve key populations in seminars and industry meetings, and attend conventions and gatherings relevant to these identified sectors.


As part of its ongoing effort to support a reduction in fatal accidents, the USHST will focus on the following actions:


• Complete a thorough analysis of fatal accidents from 2009 to 2013 for the development of specific intervention recommendations.


• Enhance its outreach to all helicopter industry areas, with special emphasis on personal/private flying, aerial agricultural application, and emergency medical services.


• Concentrate efforts in the safety areas of personal protection, aircraft equipage, pilot judgment, aeronautical decision-making, fostering a just culture, and instrument proficiency.


In moving forward, the USHST plans to align itself with the proven methodologies used by the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) and General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC). While focusing on fatal accidents, the USHST also shares a common vision that zero accidents is the primary objective in all of its efforts.


56 Nov/Dec 2016


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