International Helicopter Safety Team Toolkits Can Improve Industry Safety

The International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST), a worldwide organization leading a multi-year effort to reduce the civil helicopter accident rate, is seeing a decrease in accidents in countries where its new “toolkits” are being used.

Toolkits developed through the IHST are now available on safety management systems, training programs, maintenance programs, flight data monitoring systems and risk assessment.

“In countries where these toolkits have been widely distributed and utilized, we have seen a reduction in the accident rate within the civil helicopter industry,” explains Kim Smith, IHST  Co-Chair and Manager of the FAA Rotorcraft Directorate.

During the past six years, the worldwide helicopter accident rate has decreased 19 percent. In Canada, the rate of decrease for civil helicopter accidents has been 54 percent, and the accident rate for civil helicopters in the United States has been reduced by 44 percent. In addition, the rate for civil helicopter accidents in Europe (from 19 countries) has been reduced by 38 percent.

“The subjects of the toolkits – developing a new safety culture, emphasizing safety in training and maintenance, and adding advanced equipment – are making a difference in preventing accidents and saving lives,” adds Smith. “We want to make it as easy as possible to get these tools in hands of every type of helicopter operator, pilot or mechanic. From a financial point of view, an enhanced safety culture will reduce future aircraft damage and operational expenses.”

The IHST toolkits, along with safety-related videos and analysis reports can be obtained at no cost through the group’s newly reorganized web site at The IHST web site is now simpler to navigate for tools and reports, and allows easy access to worldwide data and information. IHST news also is available on Facebook, can be followed on Twitter, and a YouTube channel is coming soon.

The International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) was formed to lead a government and industry cooperative effort to address factors that were affecting an unacceptable helicopter accident rate. The group’s mission is to reduce the international civil helicopter accident rate by 80 percent by 2016.

This effort is co-chaired by a government member (the FAA) and by an industry member.  Major industry participants include AgustaWestland, the American Helicopter Society International, Bell Helicopter, Bristow Helicopter Ltd, CHC helicopter, Eurocopter, the Flight Safety Foundation, the Helicopter Association of Canada, the Helicopter Association International, Shell Aircraft, and Sikorsky Helicopter.  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 and in the Middle East/North Africa region.

More information about the IHST, its reports, its safety tools, and presentations from its 2011 safety symposium can be obtained at its web site: