One year ago, a series of events led to the creation of helicopter accident data points. If the accidents didn’t happen, what would an alternative reality look like?
Posted 3 years 77 days ago ago by Randy Rowles
The solo student helicopter pilot reported that he was practicing takeoffs and landings to a taxiway and that he was preparing for a steep approach. The steep approach required more left pedal, which resulted in the helicopter being "out of trim (right yaw)." A tailwind accelerated the right yaw. He attempted to recover but added "insufficient left pedal." The helicopter then spun and landed hard. The helicopter came to rest on its left side. Alternative ending: …The out-of-trim condition provided the pilot information to recognize a tailwind condition. Upon recognizing the helicopter was in a tailwind condition, the pilot executed an immediate go-around, re-evaluated the winds, and safely landed into the wind.
- Accident Report August 24th, 2018 Robinson R-22
During a Part 91 Instructional Flight, the helicopter struck overhead power lines near Granger, Texas. The flight instructor and foreign registered military pilot undergoing instruction sustained fatal injuries and the helicopter was destroyed by post impact fire. The last recorded target was traveling at a speed of about 100 knots, and an elevation of 700 ft msl (150 ft above ground level). Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.
- Accident Report August 21st, 2018 Hughes 369FF
Alternative ending: During a Part 91 Instructional Flight, the helicopter flew at a previously planned height sufficient to avoid all known obstacles along the route of flight. The helicopter reached its destination and landed safely.
NTSB investigators will use data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator, and will not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.
- Accident Report August 18th, 2018 Bell 206B
Alternative ending: A Bell 206B conducted a safe and uneventful flight.
As you can see, many of our accidents are preventable. If only the pilot chose another path, many of our accidents would have never occurred. In many cases, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will not even travel to a helicopter accident as they too feel the most likely probable cause is pilot error.
We as an industry must correct the perception that helicopters are unsafe. The negative perception held by many in the public regarding helicopter safety often begins with helicopter noise issues. However, with each helicopter accident, we provide the fuel to support the helicopter safety debate.
Decision making accidents are the leading cause of helicopter crashes. Make good decisions…and you will be cause of the accident that didn’t happen!
About Randy: Randy Rowles has been a FAA pilot examiner for 20 years for all helicopter certificates and ratings. He holds a FAA Gold Seal Flight Instructor Certificate, NAFI Master Flight Instructor designation, and was the 2013 recipient of the HAI Flight Instructor of the Year Award. Rowles is the owner/president of Helicopter Institute.