IHST After 10 Years: A Worldwide Reduction in Helicopter Accidents

The successful effort to reduce helicopter accidents was applauded today by industry leaders at Heli-Expo with a re-commitment to the IHST’s efforts and continuing support for the IHST’s government and industry partnership to enhance safety.

 Worldwide Safety 

-        Prior to the IHST’s formation in 2006, the number of worldwide civil helicopter accidents was rising at a rate of 2.5 percent per year.   

-        Since 2006, while the worldwide civil helicopter fleet has grown by 30 percent,  

-        the number of accidents worldwide has decreased in key global regions from 24 percent up to more than 50 percent,   

-        and the accident rate in key regions has decreased within a range of 40 to 60 percent. 


The European Helicopter Safety Team (www.easa.europa.eu/essi/ehest/) has been vigorous in its pursuit of detailed analysis and extensive education to enhance the safety culture in numerous countries throughout the European continent.  Preliminary totals show that accidents have been trimmed by about 50 percent and there is a strong and positive emphasis on reducing fatal accidents.  (Data reflects EASA Member States registered civil rotorcraft.) 

Total Accidents

2006:130 accidents, 17 fatal accidents

2013:103 accidents, 25 fatal accidents

2014: 98 accidents, 15 fatal accidents

2015: 60 accidents, 10 fatal accidents     (54% decrease in accidents)

 (These are preliminary totals.) 

 North America – Canada 

In Canada, the total number of accidents has been reduced by about one-third and the number of fatal accidents is down substantially.  There also was an exceptional 18-month span of safe operations:  Throughout all of 2014 and for the first part of 2015, there were zero fatal helicopter accidents.   

Total Accidents

2007: 46 accidents, 7 fatal accidents

2008: 42 accidents, 9 fatal accidents

2014: 34 accidents, 0 fatal accidents

2015: 31 accidents, 3 fatal accidents     (33% decrease in accidents)

     (These are preliminary totals.) 


In Brazil, the civil helicopter fleet has rapidly grown by 49 percent during the past four years, but the accident rate is declining.  This coincides with an IHST-supported safety campaign that was launched in 2011 by the Brazilian Helicopter Safety Team (http://www.ihstbrasil.org/).  

Total Accidents                                                             Accident Rate (per 1,000 aircraft)

2011: 30 accidents, 8 fatal accidents        2011: 17.5 accident rate

2012: 29 accidents, 5 fatal accidents        2012: 15.2 accident rate

2013: 25 accidents, 4 fatal accidents        2013:


10.5 accident rate

2014:  20 accidents, 6 fatal accidents        2014: 8.0 accident rate

2015:                    17 accidents, 7 fatal accidents        2015:                     6.6 accident rate

                        (43% decrease in accidents)                                        (62% decrease in accident rate)



New Zealand 

The New Zealand team is a recent regional partner within the IHST.  They have focused safety initiatives on low-flying operations and wire strike issues, and they have developed a proactive safety education and communications program aimed at operators and pilots.


Total Accidents                                                                 Accident Rate (per 100,000 flight hours)

2000:                    21 accidents                                               2000:                   14.0 accident rate

2001:                    24 accidents                                               2001:                   16.0 accident rate

2015:                    16 accidents                                               2015:                     8.0 accident rate

                        (24% decrease in accidents)                                        (43% decrease in accident rate)

 Safety Outreach 

The IHST promotes a wide-ranging safety outreach effort through four web sites - - Worldwide (www.IHST.org), Europe, U.S.A., and Brazil - - and an active Facebook page and Twitter site.

Helicopter safety experts from across the industry gather under the IHST banner to collaborate on and develop a broad collection of safety materials that are shared across the globe.  They include: 

-        Comprehensive reports analyzing accident causes and interventions for the U.S., Europe and Canada

-        4 extensive safety Toolkits on SMS, training, technology, and maintenance

-        12 detailed Safety Leaflets looking at pilot decisions, advanced technology, and more

-        21 focused Safety Bulletins on topics ranging from autorotations to visibility issues

-        12 Reel Safety audio-visual presentations

-        18 Safety Fact Sheets

-        More than 80 educational slide presentations


Posted on Wednesday, March 09, 2016 (Archive on Monday, January 01, 0001)
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