United States Helicopter Safety Team
Using Fatal Accident Data to Support Accident Reduction
An objective observer must recognize the benefits of the new cooperative, data analytical approach to aviation safety. A wonderful example of the gains attained by this proactive regimen is the United States Helicopter Safety Team. Driven by an active and thoughtful Executive Team, USHST is making progress with insights being shared between the FAA and industry:
The team recently issued the following encouraging report:
The United States Helicopter Safety Team has completed a comprehensive analysis of U.S. fatal accidents that occurred from 2009 to 2013. The data will be used to develop specific intervention recommendations to support further accident reductions.
Out of 104 fatal accidents that took place during the five-year span, 50 percent of them stemmed from three “occurrence” categories:
Beginning this month, ad-hoc teams within the USHST will develop safety recommendations aimed at mitigating fatal accidents caused by Loss of Control, by Unintended IMC, and during Low Altitude operations. A recommendations list and action plan will be completed by early 2017.
The USHST also has begun to enhance its outreach to key helicopter industry areas where the largest number of fatal accidents occurs:
Ad-hoc outreach groups from the USHST 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. Outreach will be a continuing process for the next 3½ years.
From 2016 through 2019, the United States Helicopter Safety Team (www.ushst.org) is focusing major attention on reducing fatal accidents within the U.S. civil helicopter community. The industry-government partnership is targeting a reduction by 2019 to 0.61 fatal accidents per 100,000 flight hours. The fatal accident rate goal for 2016 is 0.73 or lower.
For the first six months of 2016, the fatal accident rate is 0.54, a 47 percent decrease compared to 2013.
More information about the USHST, the International Helicopter Safety Team, its reports, safety tools, and Reel Safety audio-visual presentations can be obtained at its web site at www.IHST.org and on the IHST Facebook page.
The USHST review of the data provided an important insight; 50% of the 104 fatal accidents fell into three categories:
Loss of Control while inflight 1 / 9 fatal accidents
Unintended Flight into Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) / 18 fatal accidents
Low Altitude operations / 15 fatal accidents
By isolating these critical factors, USHST has given EVERY helicopter pilot and/or operator a prioritized syllabus for 2016-2017 training. The team will further emphasize these areas of critical improvements by making contact within industry segments, providing opportunities for key personnel to attend seminars and industry meetings, and participating in industry conventions and gatherings to sell the safety gospel of improving the relevant skills.
The end result of the USHST outreach should be to continue the trend lines as depicted in these graphs.
GREAT INITIATIVE AND MORE TO COME.