IHST Sees 2014 as a Pivotal Year for Helicopter Safety

Fourteen years of accident data reveal that total U.S. civil helicopter accidents have decreased about 25 percent since the International Helicopter Safety Team (www.IHST,org) was established in 2006.  From 2000 to 2005, an average of 186 to 190 helicopter accidents occurred each year in the United States.  That annual average decreased to 170 during 2006-2007, to 156 during 2008-2009, and to about 139 to 140 annual accidents during 2010 to 2013.

However, in 2012 and 2013, the total number of U.S. accidents crept up to 148 and 147, both above the 134 and 129 marks reached in 2010 and 2011.  Accident data during 2014 will be closely watched to see if the total will return to the 130’s level or continue to trend upward in the 140’s level. The following chart shows the past 14 years of U.S. accidents plus 3-year rolling averages.

Year        Total Accidents                        3-Yr. Rolling Avg.
       
2000                194                        -----                ----
2001                175                        -----                ----
2002                190                        2000-02        186
2003                205                        2001-03        190
2004                170                        2002-04        188
2005                185                        2003-05        187

(International Helicopter Safety Team is established.)

2006                154                        2004-06        170   (decrease of 10%)
2007                171                        2005-07        170
2008                143                        2006-08        156   (decrease of 8%)
2009                152                        2007-09        155
2010                134                        2008-10        143   (decrease of 10%)
2011                129                        2009-11        138
2012                148                        2010-12        137
2013                147                        2011-13        141

(During past 10 years, total accidents have decreased about 25%.)

Nearly half of all U.S. civil helicopter accidents involve personal flying, instructional operations, or agricultural aerial applications.  Industries with the least amount of accidents include logging, external load operations, utilities work, and TV news and traffic reporting.

Percentage Share of U.S. Helicopter Accidents by Industry/Mission Type

1.        Personal/Private                           18.5 percent
2.        Instructional/Training                     17.6 percent
3.        Aerial Application                        10.3 percent
4.        Emergency Medical Services         7.6 percent
5.        Commercial                                  7.5 percent
6.        Law Enforcement                          6.5 percent
7.        Air Tour/Sightseeing                      5.9 percent
8.        Business                                     4.8 percent
9.        Aerial Observation                         4.2 percent
10.        Offshore                                     4.2 percent
11.        Firefighting                                 3.6 percent
12.        Logging                                     2.7 percent
13.        External Load                            2.7 percent
14.        Utilities Patrol/Construction        2.1 percent
15.        Electronic News Gathering         1.7 percent

More information about the IHST, its reports, safety tools, and presentations from its 2014 safety symposium can be obtained at its web site at www.IHST.org and on the IHST Facebook page.
 

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