Helicopter Safety Results show that Data-Driven Processes can reduce accidents

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The vocabulary of aviation safety has moved from “reactive” as its primary adjective to “proactive”. That transition is largely driven by analytical processes which rely on data. The helicopter segment, one which has much upside for improvement, has announced some encouraging results.

United States Helicopter Safety Team is the group tasked with assessing data, identifying risks BEFORE they become a problem and developing preventative solutions. That discipline is working well and the proof of its validity is demonstrated by numbers. Here’s the good news:

· For the period January 1 to July 31, 2014, 3.94 helicopter accidents for every 100,000 flight hours.

o a 51% decrease compared to the 2001-05

o a 22% reduction compared to the 5.06 rate posted in 2009

o a 12% reduction compared to the 4.46 rate posted in 2012.

· For the period January 1 to July 31, 2014, 0.53 fatal helicopter accidents per 100,000 flight hours compared to a rate of 0.86 for all of 2013.

o 1.79 fatalities per 100,000 flight hours in 2013 compared to 0.91 fatalities per 100,000 flight hours so far in 2014.

Those results are impressive and set a new baseline for future safety performance. The USHST and IHST work is promising.

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