FORT WORTH, TX – On the heels of the news announced last month that the total number of U.S. civil helicopter accidents had been reduced to the lowest level since the early 1980s, new accident rate data is highlighting an even stronger improvement. During 2014, the U.S. civil helicopter industry experienced 3.64 accidents per 100,000 flight hours. This is a 26 percent reduction compared to 2013 and a 54 percent reduction compared to the 2001-05 baseline accident rate.
Safety experts at the United States Helicopter Safety Team (www.USHST.org) also saw improvement in the fatal accident rate. During 2014, there were 0.59 fatal helicopter accidents per 100,000 flight hours compared to 1.02 fatal accidents per 100,000 flight hours in 2013 (a 42 percent decrease). Data in 2014 also shows a 55 percent reduction compared to the 2001-05 baseline fatal accident rate of 1.31. (See attached charts for complete figures.)
The accident rates, which offer a more complete picture regarding the safety of helicopter operations, show good safety progress in the industry and encouraging results in IHST and USHST safety education and communication efforts.
According to preliminary data, the dip in the accident rate during 2014 came after two consecutive years of increases. The 2014 rate is the lowest among the past 15 years of collected data. In addition, the fatal accident rate has been below 0.70 in four out of the past six years.
The 2001-05 time period was chosen by the International Helicopter Safety Team (www.IHST.org) as a baseline to compare data prior to the creation of the IHST and its safety education efforts.
The USHST and IHST promote safety and work to reduce civil helicopter accidents. The IHST organization was formed in 2006 to lead a government and industry cooperative effort to address factors that were affecting an unacceptable helicopter accident rate.
More information about the IHST, its reports, safety tools, and presentations from its 2014 safety symposium can be obtained at its web site and on the IHST Facebook page.