The number of helicopter accidents in the United States continues its downward trend, the FAA announced Feb. 13.
According to the agency, helicopter accidents have been decreasing since 2013. Although the number of accidents went down in 2016, the agency won’t be able to release the actual accident rate until later this fall when 2016 flight hours will be available. The FAA’s current estimated accident rate of 3.19 per 100,000 hours is based on forecast activity for helicopters.
“The FAA and the helicopter industry have worked together to educate the civil helicopter community about safe practices, to drive these improved results,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said. “The FAA and the industry also are taking an active role in advancing safety through new technology, collaborative policy changes and proactive outreach.”
The agency has been working with the helicopter industry on some of the same initiatives it has with fixed-wing aircraft, such as encouraging equipage with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Out in advance of the Jan. 1, 2020, mandate and adding safety equipment through the non-required safety enhancing equipment policy.
In addition, the FAA said it has been working to make it easier for those employed in the helicopter industry to “report an unsafe condition without fear of reprisal” and become champions of safety, to encourage manufacturers to voluntarily add life-saving equipment to their helicopters, and to host annual safety conferences.