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Best of 2018 - Safety

Posted 5 years 65 days ago ago by Admin

USHST Works to Reduce Accidents, But Ultimate Goal is to Save Lives

The United States Helicopter Safety Team (www.USHST.org), a cooperative effort between industry and government, continues to promote safety and reduce civil helicopter accidents and fatalities nationwide.  The team was formed in 2013 as a regional partner within the International Helicopter Safety Team (www.IHST.org) and has become a worldwide leader in improving safe helicopter operations.

Since its inception, the USHST has focused on fatal accidents within the U.S. commercial helicopter community. Its goal is to reduce the fatal accident rate 20 percent by 2020, which means reducing it from 0.76 accidents per 100,000 flight hours to a rate of 0.61. So far in 2018, the fatal accident rate is down 13 percent and the total accident rate has been cut by one-third.

“The momentum is pointed in the right direction, but more people need to be involved if we want to reach our goal and save lives,” explains Wayne Fry, FAA division manager for general aviation flight standards and government co-chair for the USHST.  “Everyone who volunteers their time for the USHST realize that they are doing something significant for safety. We are helping to ensure that everyone who takes off in a helicopter will be able to come home safely that night.”

The steps to reach its goal include the pursuit of 22 safety enhancements that have been at the heart of fatal helicopter accidents during the past 10 years. The enhancements are generally organized into five categories: 1.) visibility and loss of control, 2.) risk management, 3.) enhanced training, 4.) enhanced technology, and 5.) pilot competency.  The team also is focused on four operational areas within the industry: personal/private flying, air ambulance, commercial operations and low-altitude aerial application work. More than half of all fatal accidents occur within these operational areas.

During 2018, the USHST has continued to gather helicopter safety experts from across the country to work together to advance the proposed safety enhancements, create educational materials, and speak at large and small gatherings of pilots, mechanics, and small fleet operators.  Face-to-face encounters have proved to be an effective tool to raise safety awareness and to expand a culture of safety throughout the industry.

“Working together, communicating with each other, exchanging important safety information are keys to reducing accidents and making a real difference,” adds Fry.  “All the numbers and the accident reductions are important, and we are succeeding in that aspect. However, at the end of the day, if we save just one life, it is worth the effort.”