From a survey of civil helicopter operators located in key regions around the world, the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) has gained a broader understanding of where safety initiatives are being implemented.
Worldwide, the top IHST-recommended safety initiatives are the implementation of Safety Management Systems and the support for structured training. These are followed in order by structured maintenance programs, Flight Data Monitoring and Health and Usage Monitoring Systems (HUMS).
The strongest proponents of Safety Management Systems were found in Australia and the United Kingdom, while structured programs for initial and recurrent training are most prevalent in Canada and the United Kingdom.
Australia and Canada have the highest use of structured maintenance programs, and HUMS are followed most avidly in the United Kingdom and Canada. Flight Data Monitoring is strongest in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Preferences for IHST-recommended safety initiatives by U.S. helicopter operators match the worldwide list in order:
1. Safety Management Systems
2. Structured training
3. Structured maintenance
4. Flight Data Monitoring
5. Health and Usage Monitoring Systems
The IHST promotes safety and works to reduce accidents and fatalities. 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, while the worldwide civil helicopter fleet has grown by 32 percent, the number of accidents worldwide has decreased on average by 25 to 30 percent.
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