The number of helicopter accidents in the U.S. has been on a steady decline for the third consecutive year, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In 2016, the accident rate declined to 3.19 accidents per 100,000 flight hours from 3.67 in 2015. The accident rate associated with fatalities fell to 0.51 per 100,000 flight hours in 2016, which is significantly lower than the 0.65 accident rate in 2014 and 1.02 in 2013.
There were 106 helicopter accidents in 2016, 17 of which were fatal. This represents a 12 percent decline in helicopter accidents from the previous year and a 27 percent decline from those in 2013.
The FAA and the helicopter industry have teamed up through groups such as the International Helicopter Safety Team and the U.S. Helicopter Safety Team with the initiative to prevent accidents and improve education about helicopter safety.
These combined efforts have been the driving force behind the declining number of accidents. This success is a result of the following proactive efforts:
Fostering a safety culture
The FAA has created a way for employees to report unsafe conditions without fearing retaliation, as well as creating safety training programs for pilots, mechanics, and other employees. These initiatives have encouraged pilots and helicopter companies to promote workplace safety.
Using newer technology
The FAA and the helicopter industry have helped to reduce risks by using advanced technology to promote safer flights.
Cutting through the red tape
The FAA has made it easier for manufacturers and operators to install safety equipment in a more efficient manner after the administration authorized the 2013 Non-Required Safety Enhancing Equipment policy. The policy utilizes a “common sense” approach to find an even balance between the risk associated with a helicopter flight and aviation safety.
Representatives of the helicopter industry and the FAA are ensuring that newly-manufactured helicopters are made to prevent injuries, damage from bird strikes, and post-crash fires.
In 2014, the FAA also made requirements that commercial helicopter operators, including air ambulances and air taxis, have stricter rules and procedures during flights, stronger communication and training, and more on-board safety equipment.
Although significant accomplishments are being made to improve helicopter safety, aviation accidents are still dangerous and hold a high risk of causing serious injuries or death. If you or someone you love has been involved in a helicopter crash, contact Henness & Haight’s Las Vegas aviation accident lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will review your claim and determine if you have legal options. Our attorneys will not charge you any legal fees unless we are able to recover fair compensation for your claim.