Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown advises on safety at Helitech

Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown advises on safety at Helitech 13 Oct, 15, Source: Helitech

The final day of Helitech International was reserved for one of the most important aspects of the rotorcraft industry: safety. Proceedings in the event’s popular Safety Workshop included a keynote from the celebrated Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown. The Navy’s most decorated pilot, Capt. Brown has flown a record 487 different aircraft, and often as the test pilot. The Workshop concentrated on why rotary accidents still occur and what more can be done to prevent them.

The rotorcraft industry designs machines that can carry out tasks which other vehicles cannot. It creates aircraft that can take off from rooftops and land on mountainsides; transport people at speed, much closer to the ground than other aircraft; that can be used to hunt down criminals or rescue lives. The preparedness of the pilot is therefore of utmost importance.

As Professor Graham Braithwaite of Cranfield University explained during the Workshop, our expectations of helicopters are so high we forget the risks that pilots take daily, and are surprised when the success rate is not 100%. He added that this can also be true for the pilots, where if accidents don’t occur, dangers are perceived as less likely and more risks are taken, compromising safety.

The European Helicopter Safety Team (EHEST) discussed the findings from its studies of 489 accidents between 2000 and 2010. The vast majority were due to pilot judgement and actions (nearly 70%), highlighting that pilots are making impromptu manoeuvres, which can carry great risk.

This point was echoed by Capt. Brown, who witnessed the recent tragedy which unfolded at the Shoreham Air Show. Capt. Brown reminded the audience that “you can never be over-prepared or fully prepared” but that “you should always expect the unexpected”. The importance of maintaining vigilant standards of safety was an ongoing theme throughout the Workshop. Indeed, as Capt. Brown explained “things have changed tremendously largely because of meetings like this”.

Helitech International 2015, held last week at ExCeL London, has proved to be the latest success in the event’s successful history. An impressive number of major new orders were announced at the show, including Waypoint Leasing ordering 20 Airbus H135 helicopters along with 18 AgustaWestland helicopters, while informative Education Programme sessions highlighted the unique and essential role that helicopters increasingly play in society.

The Exhibition Director, John Hyde, commented: “Helitech International is proud to provide a platform for the discussion of issues that are of central importance to the rotary sector, which continues to grow at great pace. The safety and resilience of helicopters remains of premier importance and will be reflected by expert, illuminating seminar sessions and workshops at future editions this event”.

Helitech International will return to Amsterdam RAI from 11-13 October 2016.

Helitech International

Helitech has long been established as the leading show in the rotary wing market outside the USA. The event was launched in 1986 alongside Offshore Europe in Aberdeen before moving to run as a standalone event at Redhill in 1987. Helitech stayed at Redhill until it moved to The Imperial War Museum, Duxford in 2001. In 2011 Helitech proudly celebrated 25 years of supporting the rotary industry. In 2012 Helitech International was established, in association with the European Helicopter Association, to attract a wider international audience and offer exhibitors and visitors alike the opportunity to network on an international level. Helitech International 2016 will take place at Amsterdam RAI from 11-13 October 2016.

About EHA

The European Helicopter Association (EHA) is a non-profit Association whose members are the National Helicopter Associations Committee (NHAC) representing 12 countries in Europe and HeliOffshore, the Rotorcraft community of specialists within the Off-Shore operators. The Association’s mission is to speak as the voice for the European Rotorcraft industry at the European Institutions and elsewhere, representing and promoting the best interests of all sectors.

About Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organiser, with over 500 events in 43 countries. In 2014 Reed brought together over seven million event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 41 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of the RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries.

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