Helicopter industry implementing key safety practices more often, per latest IHSF Global Survey

The International Helicopter Safety Foundation has compiled data from its fourth annual survey of civil helicopter operators located in key regions around the world in order to gain a broader understanding of where safety initiatives are being implemented.  Participation in the survey increased by 76 percent compared to a year ago.  IHSF received nearly 1,300 responses to the survey from 112 different countries.

The IHSF’s worldwide regional teams have analyzed more than 1,000 helicopter accidents and have concluded that the following eight areas offer the best opportunities to prevent helicopter accidents:

  • Structured programs to fully comply with manufacturers’ recommended maintenance practices;
  • A structured program for initial and recurrent training;
  • The implementation of safety management systems (SMS);
  • The implementation of manual health and usage monitoring systems (HUMS);
  • Installation of wire strike prevention systems;
  • The implementation of flight data monitoring (FDM) programs;
  • The implementation of automated health and usage monitoring systems (HUMS); and
  • Usage of night vision systems when warranted.

The 2018-19 IHSF survey looked at where these best practices were followed within specific segments of the helicopter industry and within regions around the world.  Overall use of these eight “tools” in 2018 was 62 percent.  This is an increase from 59 percent in 2017 and 42 percent in 2016.

In addition, the key recommended safety practices have been implemented most comprehensively by operators in the sectors of helicopter air ambulance, offshore/oil operations and law enforcement. The lowest implementation occurs in the TV/Radio news gathering segment of the industry and in personal/private flying.

From the survey, here is the complete list of helicopter industry segments from most following to least following the best safety practices:

Industry segments from highest to lowest adherence to recommended safety practices –

1) Air Ambulance                         8) Instruction/Training

2) Offshore/Oil                             9) Aerial Observation

3) Law Enforcement                   10) Business Aviation

4) Utilities/Construction             11) Air Tours/Sightseeing

5) Firefighting                             12) Agricultural Application

6) Air Taxi/Charter                     13) TV/Radio News Gathering

7) External Load                         14) Personal/Private

IHSF Graphic

Within key regions of the world, application of the best safety practices is increasing overall, but usage varies from country to country.  According to the survey, here is a breakdown highlighting greater usage and lesser usage of the key safety recommendations:


ISHF Graphic

IHSF Graphic
IHSF Graphic

The detailed report for the IHSF safety initiative survey can be found on the “Repository” page on its web site.

More information about the IHSF, its reports, safety tools, Reel Safety audio/video presentations and YouTube safety videos can be obtained at its web site at www.IHSF.aero and on the IHSF Facebook page.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *