The United States Helicopter Safety Team (www.USHST.org), has completed a comprehensive follow-up report to its initial helicopter accident analysis released in 2011. This new report analyzes U.S. civil helicopter accidents that occurred in 2009, 2010, and 2011 and compares them to the previous analysis that looked at accidents that occurred in 2000, 2001, and 2006. The intent of the USHST effort was to find if any meaningful differences exist between the earlier and the later data and to pinpoint where improvement or regression emerged.
During the 2009-11 period of the new analysis, there were 415 civil helicopter accidents, which was a 21 percent reduction compared to the 523 accidents that occurred during the three years (2000, 2001, 2006) of the original report.
The top four industries with the greatest improvement in accident reduction were:
- Firefighting – from a 3.6% share of all accidents to a 1.0% share of all accidents, down 2.6 percentage points.
- Air Tours – from a 5.9% share of all accidents to a 3.6% share of all accidents, down 2.3 percentage points.
- Logging – from a 2.7% share of all accidents to a 0.5% share of all accidents, down 2.2 percentage points.
- News/Traffic – from a 1.7% share of all accidents to a 0.2% share of all accidents, down 1.5 percentage points.
The three industries with the highest negative change between the two time periods were:
- Agricultural – from a 10.3% share to a 15.7% share, up 5.4 percentage points.
- Instructional – from a 17.6% share to a 20.5% share, up 2.9 percentage points.
- Personal Flying – from an 18.5% share to a 20.7% share, up 2.2 percentage points.
Personal, instructional, and agricultural flying continue to top the accident list and are garnering a larger share, rising as a group from 46 percent of all accidents to 57 percent of all accidents in the 2009-11 time period. Since mid-2011, the USHST parent organization, the International Helicopter Safety Team (www.IHST.org), has boosted its communications efforts in order to reach these industry areas experiencing higher accident rates. The USHST is hopeful that these efforts will be reflected positively at an industry-by-industry level in 2013-15 safety results and that total accidents in the entire helicopter industry will continue to decrease.
A complete copy of the USHST’s comparative report can be found on the IHST web site at http://www.ihst.org/Default.aspx?tabid=3043&language=en-US.
The IHST promotes safety and works to reduce accidents. The organization was formed in 2005 to lead a government and industry cooperative effort to address factors that were affecting an unacceptable helicopter accident rate. Prior to 2006, the number of worldwide civil helicopter accidents was rising at a rate of 2.5 percent per year. Since 2006, the number of accidents worldwide has been decreasing by an annual rate of 2 percent. More information about the IHST, its reports, safety tools, and presentations from its 2014 safety symposium can be obtained at its web site at www.IHST.org and on the IHST Facebook page.
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