HAI’s Recommendations to Bring Accidents Down to Zero

May 17, 2021

After six-months, Helicopter Association International (HAI) released the results from a full top-down review of its safety programs.

For 70 years, HAI has promoted and advocated for the helicopter industry. Leading with a vision to bring accidents in the industry down to zero, HAI is creating tangible resources for the industry that addresses safety across the continuum of helicopter aviation, including technology and the people who use them.  

One significant issue facing the industry is pilots unintentionally flying into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) while flying under visual flight rules (VFR). It’s a problem the industry has recognized for a while, yet operators must take more care in helping pilots avoid and recover from the potentially deadly experience.  

Unintentionally flying into IMC is a problem that consistently ranks as the top cause of fatal helicopter accidents in the US. In 2019, 33% of accidents resulted from unintended entry into IMC, with 21 deaths.

The film 56 Seconds, which the US Helicopter Safety Team produced and HAI endorsed, portrays the very likely risk of losing control of an aircraft and dying within 56 seconds after unintentionally flying into IMC.

Because human performance is a causal factor in most of these accidents, HAI believes that by addressing human factors through training, culture, and the right technology, accident rates could significantly improve.

HAI highlights training as something that can significantly improve safety when addressed at every part of a pilot’s performance, readdressed when the opportunity presents itself, and continuously offered over time.

HAI also notes that a culture that collectively supports operational safety encourages and empowers pilots to take personal responsibility by following procedures and reporting hazards.

For technology, HAI strongly recommends adopting a Safety Management System (SMS) for all aviation operators. All over the world, regulatory bodies are endorsing an SMS as the best way to manage aviation risks systematically. SMS is an ongoing process that works to identify hazards and manage risks to improve overall safety performance.

For helicopter operators, HAI encourages those with paying passengers to consider establishing a proactive Flight-Data Monitoring (FDM) system. Data used this way can reduce accidents, which improves safety across the entire industry.

To read the full report, click here.

Keep up with the latest aviation insights

Subscribe for industry news, delivered direct to your inbox ⤸