IHSF: Nearly two-thirds of helicopter industry implementing key safety practices

International Helicopter Safety Foundation Press Release | April 15, 2020

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 36 seconds.

The International Helicopter Safety Foundation (IHSF) has compiled data from its fifth annual survey of civil helicopter operators located in key regions around the world in order to gain a broader understanding of where crucial safety initiatives are being implemented. The IHSF received more than 1,900 responses to the survey from 112 different countries. Participation in the survey increased by 49 percent compared to a year ago.

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

  • Structured programs to fully comply with manufacturers’ recommended maintenance practices;
  • A structured program for initial and recurrent training;
  • The implementation of safety management systems (SMS);
  • The implementation of manual Health & Usage Monitoring Systems (HUMS);
  • Installation of wire strike prevention systems;
  • The implementation of flight data monitoring (FDM) programs;
  • The implementation of automated HUMS;
  • Usage of night vision systems when warranted.

The 2019-20 IHSF survey looked at where these best practices were followed within specific segments of the helicopter industry and within regions around the world.  Overall use of these eight “tools” in 2019 was 65 percent.  This is an increase from 62 percent in 2018 and 59 percent in 2017.

In addition, the sectors of Helicopter Air Ambulance, Offshore/Oil operations and Law Enforcement have implemented the key recommended safety practices most comprehensively compared to other industry areas.  The lowest implementation occurs in Personal/Private flying and in the TV/Radio News Gathering segment of the industry.

From the survey, here is the complete list of helicopter industry segments from most following to least following the best safety practices:

Industry Segments From Highest to Lowest Adherence to Recommended Safety Practices

  1. Air ambulance
  2. Offshore/oil
  3. Law enforcement
  4. Utilities/construction
  5. Firefighting
  6. External load
  7. Instruction/training
  8. Air taxi/charter
  9. Aerial observation
  10. Business aviation
  11. Air tours/sightseeing
  12. Agricultural application
  13. TV/radio newsgathering
  14. Personal/private
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Within key regions of the world, application of the best safety practices is increasing overall, but usage varies from country to country. According to the survey, here is a breakdown highlighting greater usage and lesser usage of the key safety recommendations (see image below):

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The detailed report for the IHSF safety initiative survey can be found on the “Survey Results” page on its web site: http://ihsf.aero/index.php/survey-results/.

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