Helicopter Safety

Helicopter Safety Helicopters are useful machines that perform almost every function in aviation: they transport passengers, serve as flight ambulances, perform agricultural work, are used in sight-seeing tours, aid in law enforcement, and conduct military operations. This is possible because of their great versatility: they can fly forwards, backwards, hover, descend and ascend vertically, and land and takeoff without runways.

The benefits of helicopters come with great burdens: they are intricate, complex machines that require the highest levels of design, construction, maintenance and operational skill. If any one of these components is absent, the results are usually disastrous for its occupants and their families. What was designed to help humans with their daily lives all too often causes great harm to those who use them. Although the helicopter industry has made great efforts at reducing helicopter accidents, they continue. Why?

UPSTREAM: Don’t Sacrifice Helicopter Safety During Low Oil Prices and Industry Cutbacks

May 9, 2016

The Editors of UPSTREAM, the International Oils and Gas newsletter published out of London, printed the following editorial which urged that helicopter safety should not be dependent on market economic forces and cutbacks related to those forces: Helicopter safety is priority number one The latest helicopter deaths in the North Sea are another grim reminder […]

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Early Indications Point to Gearbox Failure on CHC Super Puma

May 2, 2016

The British Airlines Pilots Association (BALPA) said the “ripples” of the crash would spread far beyond Norway in part because the most recent crash has been preliminarily liked to gearbox issues — a problem which seems to be recurring in the Super Puma. BALPA’s General Secretary, Jim McAuslan, said: “The worldwide helicopter pilot community is united […]

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Super Puma Norway Heliopter Crash

May 1, 2016

A video has emerged purporting to show the main rotor system disintegrating during the final moments of the flight of the helicopter as it flew from the Gullfaks oil field to the Norwegian city of Bergen. The helicopter has been grounded by several European nations. It has also been reported that maintenance was deferred on […]

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Criminalization of Aviation: Does It Enhance Safety?

May 30, 2012

Now comes an announcement from Greece that a licensed aircraft maintenance engineer has received a ten-year prison sentence for allegedly not re-setting a cockpit switch on a Helios Airways 737-300 which crashed in 2005 after its oxygen supply ran out and the pilots and many passengers fell unconscious. The criminal sentence is made even more […]

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Contributing Factors In Helicopter Crashes

May 10, 2011

In February we began a series on the causes of helicopter crashes, so I consider it very timely that Katy Waldman from The Slate Magazine recently contacted me for an article on about the causes of helicopter crashes. As I discussed with Ms. Waldman, there is no simple answer to why the helicopter accident rate […]

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TSB Cites Several Causes In Cougar Helicopters Flight 491 Crash In Newfoundland

March 6, 2011

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has released its final report on the March 2009 helicopter crash in which 17 people were killed.  The report states a “complex web” of factors combined to cause the tragedy.  The Sikorsky S-92A was transporting workers to the Hibernia and Sea Rose offshore oil rig when the aircraft went […]

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February 3, 2011

The start of this analysis must be the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) and its web site. The IHST was created in 2004 by manufacturers, operators, government agencies and NGO’s to slow the increasing rate of helicopter accidents.  The accident rate amont all other aircraft modes was decreasing, and this group set out to find […]

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Helicopter Safety – Why Helicopters Crash and How to Prevent Accidents

February 1, 2011

There has been much on the internet lately about helicopter crashes and their causes.  Not only do the accidents continue, but it seems every day someone is sending out messages–with a wide range of credibility–giving his or her view on why helicopters crash. It’s time we weighed in by starting a new, ongoing series concerning […]

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Safety Features And Pilot Training Credited In Safe Landing Of Damaged Medical Helicopter

January 7, 2011

A helicopter instructor who witnessed the safe landing of a damaged medical helicopter cited the safety features on that aircraft and the pilot’s training for his “amazing job” of landing and bringing the aircraft and the three crew members down safely. The Eurocopter EC135 AirCare 5 medical transport helicopter’s landing followed a midair collision with […]

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NTSB Makes Helicopter Safety Recommendations A-10-148 Through 158 To The FAA

December 31, 2010

On December 29, 2010 the NTSB released its much anticipated safety recommendations to the FAA. Three of the recommendations are that hover performance charts published by helicopter manufacturers reflect true performance of helicopters in all conditions for which charts are applicable.  The FAA should develop and implement surveillance program for 14 CFR Part 135 (Title […]

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