The U.S. Helicopter Safety Team has completed its comprehensive analysis of the root causes of fatal accidents and has developed 22 measurable safety enhancements aimed at reducing fatalities.
The 22 safety enhancements can be grouped into four categories:
- Loss of Control Five safety enhancements
- Safety Management Seven safety enhancements (three still in development)
- Competency Six safety enhancements (one still in development)
- IMC and Visibility Four safety enhancements (announced on Sept. 6)
Within the topic of Loss of Control, the USHST will be working to implement these five safety enhancements. They encompass issues in flight and during instruction.
- Standardization of Autorotation & Emergency Handling Training
Action: Convene team of training industry experts to develop consensus on recommended practices for standard training of the Certified Helicopter Flight Instructor on autorotations and emergency aircraft handling.
- Progressive Approaches to Autorotation Training
Action: Amend the Helicopter Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-21A) to incorporate progressive approaches to training autorotations.
- Simulators and Outside-the Envelope Flight Conditions
Action: Provide recommendations for improving simulator mathematical physics models for level A-D Full Flight Simulators (FFSs) and Level 1-7 Aviation Training Devices (ATDs) for outside-the-envelope flight conditions.
- Stability Augmentation System/Autopilot
Action: Encourage the development and installation of a stability augmentation system (SAS) and/or simple autopilot in light helicopters.
- Understanding of Basic Helicopter Aerodynamics
Action: Review and revise materials explaining basic helicopter aerodynamics to emphasize recognition of unsafe aerodynamic situations and apply appropriate corrective actions.
- The USHST will be announcing the remaining proposed safety enhancements in the coming weeks.
Initial focus for all the safety enhancements will be in these four sectors of the industry: Personal/Private, Air Ambulance, Commercial, and Aerial Application.
From 2016 through 2019, the USHST is focusing major attention on reducing fatal accidents within the U.S. civil helicopter community. The industry-government partnership is targeting a reduction by 2019 to 0.61 fatal accidents per 100,000 flight hours. The fatal accident rate goal for 2017 is 0.69 or lower. Initial figures for the first six months of 2016 show an actual rate of 0.58 fatal accidents per 100,000 flight hours.
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