Vertical progress in Helicopter Safety

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Less than a month ago an NTSB study was quoted here and as a reader pointed out, the post created an overly negative view of the helicopter safety status, particularly HEMS( The International Helicopter Safety Foundation published its study quantifying that segment’s progress.

This post demonstrates how criticism and corrections are welcome. The Journal searches for interesting information and attempts to add useful insight. Often the commentary is intended to draw contrary views; they are appreciated. Sometimes we are wrong and any more accurate facts make this site better.moo

Helo Operators Increase Use of Safety Tools
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by Mark Huber

– April 15, 2020, 12:06 PM

Results from the International Helicopter Safety Foundation’s (IHSF) fifth annual survey of civil operators show a marked increase in the use of eight key best practices safety tools, including safety management systems (SMS) and flight data monitoring systems (FDM).

The survey garnered 1,900 responses from operators in 112 different countries, a response rate that increased by 49 percent versus a year ago. It found that overall usage of these eight tools in 2019 was 65 percent, up from 62 percent in 2018 and 59 percent in 2017. As in years past, certain industry sectors demonstrated better implementation with helicopter air ambulance, offshore energy, and law enforcement leading the way, while private flying and electronic newsgathering posted the lowest levels.

IHSF created the list of best practices after evaluating more than 1,000 helicopter accidents. They include structured maintenance programs that fully comply with manufacturers’ recommendations; structured initial and recurrent training; implementation of SMS; implementation of manual health usage and monitoring systems (HUMS); installation of wire strike prevention systems; implementation of FDM; implementation of automated HUMS; and use of night vision systems when warranted.

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