Helicopters Magazine

Features Procedures Safety & Training
U.S. accidents decline, but private mishaps up: IHST

February 27, 2013  By Carey Fredericks

Feb. 27, 2013, Chicago, Il. - New data released by the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) shows that the total number of civil helicopter accidents in the U.S. has declined since 2009. During the three-year span from 2007 to 2009, there were 466 helicopter accidents in the United States.  For the past three years from 2010 through 2012, there were 411 U.S. accidents.

3-Year                       Private                                 During

Period                Total         Flight          Instruction       All Other

2007-09             466                96                111               259

2008-10             429                92                83                254


2009-11             415                93                88                234

2010-12             411               102                81               228

However, the data also shows that the number of helicopter accidents involving personal/private flying increased during the same time period. Within the 2007-09 span, 21 per cent of total U.S. helicopter accidents occurred during personal/private flying. From 2010 to 2012, personal/private accidents made up 25 per cent of the helicopter accident total. In addition, over the past six years, the number of accidents occurring during instruction/training flights has decreased, but they continue to be a key focus for safety improvements.

Although total numbers of accidents offer a guideline for safety trends, their variations can be influenced by the rising or falling of flight operations and flight hours within the industry.

The IHST promotes safety and works to reduce civil helicopter accidents worldwide. The organization was formed in 2005 to lead a government and industry cooperative effort to address factors that were affecting an unacceptable helicopter accident rate. The group’s vision is an international civil helicopter community with zero accidents with a goal to reduce the international civil helicopter accident rate by 80 per cent by 2016.

IHST members also establish international partnerships in countries with significant helicopter operations and work to encourage the overseas industries to carry out accident analysis and develop safety interventions.  Worldwide partners now supporting the work of the IHST include government and industry participants from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Australia, India, Russia, and multiple countries in Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East.


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