International Helicopter Safety Team Announces Stronger Focus On GA Pilot, Instructor and Maintenance Community

Fort Worth, TX – More than 200 professionals from helicopter companies, associations, and government agencies in 21 countries gathered in Fort Worth, Texas, last week for the fifth annual International Helicopter Safety Symposium.  They left the Lone Star State with a renewed optimism about safety successes, along with a dedicated focus on the work that needs to be accomplished in order to reach the helicopter community’s 2016 safety goal.

Stronger outreach efforts to general aviation pilots, instructors and mechanics; a continued push for additional participating countries worldwide; and a persistent focus on creating safety cultures were repeating themes throughout the two-day conference.

“The International Helicopter Safety Team has developed very thorough analyses on how and why helicopter accidents occur and they have succeeded in creating a wide array of toolkits, videos, and training pieces to help all levels of the helicopter community build a strong safety culture,” explains Kim Smith, IHST Co-Chair and Manager of the FAA Rotorcraft Directorate.  “Our focus is to get these free and simple-to-use tools into the hands of small operators, general aviation pilots, and mechanics so that they can reap the benefits of a safe aviation environment.”

“GA pilots, mechanics, and owners of small helicopter businesses can use tools such as Safety Management Systems, risk assessment processes, and flight data monitoring equipment just like the larger helicopter operations,” adds Smith.  “With small upfront expenses and adjustments in safety practices, every type of operator can reduce and eliminate accidents.  The benefits far outweigh the costs and at the bottom line, that is good business for every segment within the helicopter industry.”

The International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) was created in 2005 with a mission of reducing the worldwide civil helicopter accident rate by 80 percent by 2016. Participants in the effort include operators, manufacturers, trade associations, academics, government regulators, pilots, mechanics, and instructors from Europe, the Middle East/North Africa region, Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Japan, Russia, and the United States.  Regions where IHST toolkits are being implemented have achieved 20 percent and better reduction in accident rates.  Participants from Mexico and South Africa also plan to join the team which aims to expand to all areas of the globe by 2016.

More information about the IHST, its reports, its safety tools, and presentations from the recent Symposium can be obtained at its web site