IHST Global Survey Highlights Safety Strengths and Weaknesses in the Helicopter Industry

The International Helicopter Safety Team (www.IHST.org) has compiled data from its second annual survey of civil helicopter operators located in key regions around the world in order to gain a broader understanding of where safety initiatives are being implemented.

The IHST’s worldwide regional teams have analyzed more than 1,000 helicopter accidents and have concluded that the following four areas offer the best opportunities to prevent helicopter accidents:

  • The implementation of Safety Management Systems (SMS),
  • A structured program for initial and recurrent training,
  • The implementation of Health & Usage Monitoring Systems (HUMS),
  • Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) programs,
  • Structured programs to fully comply with manufacturers’ recommended Maintenance practices.

The recent IHST survey looked at where these best practices were followed within specific segments of the helicopter industry and within regions around the world.  Overall, the key recommended safety practices have been implemented most comprehensively by operators in the sectors of Offshore/Oil, Helicopter Air Ambulance and Taxi/Charter services.  The lowest implementation occurs in the Personal/Private segment of the industry.  From the 2016 survey, here is the complete list of segments most following to least following the best practices:

  1. Offshore/Oil 
  2. Air Ambulance
  3. Air Taxi/Charter 
  4. External Load
  5. Law Enforcement
  6. Training
  7. Commercial Aviation
  8. Agricultural Application
  9. Air Tours
  10. Other
  11. Personal/Private

Within key regions of the world, application of the best safety practices is patchy.  Here is a breakdown highlighting greater usage and lesser usage of the key safety recommendations:

  Greater Usage          Lesser Usage
United Kingdom Training, Rec. Maintenance   Flight Data Monitoring
France Training Rec. Maintenance, Flight Data Mon.
Italy  HUMS Training, Rec. Maintenance
Misc. Europe  Safety Mgmt Systems Flight Data Monitoring, Training
United States  Rec. Maintenance                                  Safety Mgmt Systems, HUMS
Canada  Flight Data Mon., Rec. Maintenance      HUMS, Safety Mgmt Systems
Mexico  HUMS, Flight Data Monitoring            Safety Mgmt Systems
Australia  Rec. Maintenance                                  Flight Data Monitoring, HUMS
New Zealand  Flight Data Monitoring Training, HUMS

The detailed report for the IHST safety initiative survey can be found on the “Repository” page on its web site: http://www.ihst.org/Default.aspx?tabid=3094&language=en-US

The IHST was formed in 2005 to lead a government and industry cooperative effort to promote helicopter safety and work to reduce accidents and fatalities.  More information about the IHST, its reports, safety tools, Reel Safety audio/video presentations and YouTube safety videos can be obtained at its web site at www.IHST.org and on the IHST Facebook page.

Posted on Friday, February 03, 2017 (Archive on Monday, January 01, 0001)
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