• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Youtube
Helicopter Flight Training Sponsors

USHST - An Open Letter to the U.S. Helicopter Community

Posted 4 years 247 days ago ago by Admin

An Open Letter to the U.S. Helicopter Community

Our U.S. helicopter community just went through the worst short-term surge in fatal accidents we’ve experienced within the past six years.  With four fatal accidents within a 10-day span, the U.S. Helicopter Safety Team feels that there is a benefit to informing our broader community of this information.  We also feel that it is appropriate timing for some straightforward reminders that can contribute to safe flying.

We would appreciate your help in communicating this important message to our community.  We invite you to tailor it accordingly as you think would be most effective.

Dear helicopter pilots, mechanics, operators, instructors, etc.:

The U.S. helicopter industry just endured the worst ten-day stretch of fatal accidents observed since late 2012.  Within the 50 states plus D.C. and Puerto Rico, four fatal helicopter accidents and four fatalities occurred from June 29 to July 8, 2018, a pace of nearly one fatal accident every other day.  Investigations take time, so the underlying cause of each case will not be known for some time.  However, there is one thing we know with certainty.  None of the individuals involved in these tragic events woke up that morning thinking this would be their last helicopter flight.  The series of fatal helicopter accidents is a reminder to our community.  There is sometimes a fine line between a flight that ends uneventfully and one that ends disastrously.

We are still early in the summer with plenty of good flying weather in front of us.  In the wake of this recent surge in fatal accidents, let us take some time to think through how we can make sure the rest of the summer is spent with enjoyment rather than grief.

1. Review your basic procedures.  The simple, mundane practices are often what keep us safe.
2. Think through what actions you would take for various aircraft emergencies.
3. Consider what effect summer temperatures will have on the performance and limitations of your aircraft.
4. Contemplate what factors may be subtly building up your cumulative fatigue.  Days in the summer are long, often resulting in more activity and less sleep.  
5. Practice real time risk management, even with small decisions.  Make a habit of mentally asking yourself, “What could go wrong with what I’m doing right now?  What could I do to make sure the worst case scenario doesn’t kill me?”

As a community, let’s all do our part to ensure the ten-day surge in fatal helicopter accidents is an anomaly and does not stretch into a long-term trend.  Fly safe today.


June 29, 2018 Sterling City, Texas Aerial Observation Robinson R-22 1 fatality
June 30, 2018 San Juan, Puerto Rico Personal/Private Bell 206B 1 fatality
July 6, 2018 Morristown, Indiana Aerial Observation Bell/Scott’s 47G-2 1 fatality
July 8, 2018 Williamsburg, Virginia Personal/Private Robinson R-44 1 fatality


Nov. 25, 2012 Corona, Calif. Personal/Private Robinson R-44 1 fatality
Nov. 27, 2012 Childress, Texas Utilities/Construction MDHI 369D 1 fatality
Nov. 30, 2012 Apollo Beach, Fla. Personal/Private Robinson R-22 1 fatality
Dec. 1, 2012 Walkerville, Michigan Personal/Private Bell/Scott’s 47G-2 1 fatality
Dec. 10, 2012 Rochelle, Illinois Air Ambulance Airbus BK117A-3 3 fatalities