The United States Helicopter Safety Team (www.USHST.org) has released new statistics on accident rates for U.S. civil helicopters along with new data on fatal accident rates and fatalities.
For the first seven months of 2014, there have been 3.94 helicopter accidents for every 100,000 flight hours. This is a 51 percent decrease compared to the 2001-05 baseline determined by the USHST parent organization, the International Helicopter Safety Team (www.IHST.org). This also is a 22 percent reduction compared to the 5.06 rate posted in 2009 and a 12 percent reduction compared to the 4.46 rate posted in 2012. (See accompanying charts for complete data.)
These results are especially encouraging because they include data from the month of July which historically tallies the most helicopter accidents in the United States during the year.
In addition, the rate of fatal accidents is down so far in 2014 compared to 2013, which showed a troubling upward spike. During the first seven months of 2014, there were 0.53 fatal helicopter accidents per 100,000 flight hours compared to a rate of 0.86 for all of 2013.
The decrease also is reflected in the fatality rate. There were 1.79 fatalities per 100,000 flight hours in 2013 compared to 0.91 fatalities per 100,000 flight hours so far in 2014.
Safety experts at the USHST know that accident data from the rest of the summer has not been gathered yet and there are four months still left in the year, but the results at this time are promising. A stronger safety culture seems to be growing in the civil helicopter community.
The USHST and its parent organization, the IHST, promote safety and work to reduce accidents. The IHST 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.
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