If the first half of the year is any indication, then 2015 is shaping up to be a very good year for civil helicopter safety in the United States. Total accidents are down 28 percent during the first six months of 2015 compared to the same period last year. In addition, according to the United States Helicopter Safety Team (www.USHST.org), the number of accidents has been cut nearly in half compared to 2006. (when IHST safety efforts began)
From January 2015 through June 2015, there were 46 civil helicopter accidents occurring in the United States compared to 64 total accidents during the same months of 2014. During the first half of 2015, there were 10 fatal helicopter accidents. This compares to nine fatal accidents during early 2014 and 17 fatal accidents during the first half of 2013.
July, August and September will continue to be a peak time for helicopter operations and that usually translates into a peak time for accidents, but the first half of 2015 reflects a trend of improved safety in the helicopter community.
Although the healthy decrease in total accidents is good news, the USHST is maintaining its additional emphasis on reducing the number of fatalities and fatal accidents. Throughout this year, members of the U.S. team will focus on the human factors involved in fatal accidents and on improved equipment and technology that can prevent these types of accidents.
The USHST and the International Helicopter Safety Team (www.IHST.org) 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.
More information about the IHST, its reports, safety tools, and Reel safety audio-visual presentations can be obtained at its web site at www.IHST.org and on the IHST Facebook page.
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