From January through June 2020, the US helicopter industry experienced a total of 42 accidents, with nine proving fatal for those involved. For the same period in 2019, there were 69 accidents and 15 of them involved fatalities.
According to the US Helicopter Safety Team (USHST), some of this decrease stems from a decrease in flights during the Covid-19 outbreak. It is estimated that total flights were down by between 10 and 30 per cent during any given period this spring, and the fatal accident rate per 100,000 flight hours was 0.63 for January to June 2020. For the full year of 2019, the rate was 0.80, according to preliminary data.
This year, the USHST also welcomed new safety experts to serve on its expanded Steering Committee: Mike Newell, Director of Aviation Safety at Airbus Helicopters, replaces Emanuele ‘Manny’ Figlia, who recently retired from Airbus; Chris Hill, Director of Safety for the Helicopter Association International, joined the Steering Committee; and FAA Rotorcraft Safety & Accident Investigator Scott Tyrrell also joined the Committee.
In a statement, USHST said: “Each year, the US helicopter industry safely flies more than 3.2 million flight hours. Working together, we can build on that safe record and eliminate the small number of accidents that do occur.”