Helicopters Magazine

U.S. accident rate lowest in three decades: IHST

January 14, 2015  By Carey Fredericks

Jan. 14, 2015, Fort Worth, Tx. -  A year ago, safety experts at the United States Helicopter Safety Team declared that 2014 would be a pivotal year as the helicopter community worked to stem a discouraging increase in fatal and non-fatal accidents. 

A renewed safety education and
communication effort succeeded in reversing the trend as U.S. helicopter
accidents totaled 130 during 2014, the lowest total since the early

“130 accidents during the year still is 130 too many,” explains USHST
Government Co-Chair Jim Viola, “but we’re glad to see that the numbers
are continuing to go down. More helicopter operators, pilots,
instructors and mechanics across the country are learning how to better
manage risk and are infusing their culture with effective safety
habits. Safety messages from the USHST and the IHST are getting through
at the grassroots level.”

According to preliminary data, total helicopter accidents decreased by
11 percent to 130 in 2014 compared to 146 in 2013 and fatal accidents
decreased by 30 percent to 21 in 2014 compared to 30 in 2013. Compared
to 2005 (the year before the IHST was established), total accidents are
down 30 percent, from 185 to 130. 


Viola adds, “Our nationwide team of
helicopter safety professionals are working on more initiatives for 2015
to keep pushing the number of accidents downward – – from new
audio-visual presentations available on our web site to the development
of safety resource centers in training classes around the country. We
want to keep moving the accident total in the right direction.”


The USHST and the International Helicopter
Safety Team (www.IHST.org) promote safety and work to reduce
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.

Prior to 2006, the number of worldwide civil helicopter accidents was
rising at a rate of 2.5 percent per year. Since 2006, the number of
accidents worldwide has been decreasing by an annual rate of 2 percent.


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