Safety is the number one objective of the International Helicopter Safety Team. The organization’s mission is to educate and inform pilots and their passengers on how to stay safe while in flight, with the goal of reducing the number of accidents reported.
In a 10-year span from 2005-2015, there were 136 helicopter accidents, 65 of them fatal with 312 reported deaths as a result. That’s far too many, in the eyes of the IHST, although it is getting better each year. Along with the IHST and a few other safety organizations, we’ve come up with the essential safety tips every helicopter pilot should know.
- Use a pre-departure checklist. That should include complete weather forecasts, fuel information, details about the helicopter’s equipment and performance records
- Employ the IMSAFE checklist to ensure you are fit to fly -- Illness, Medication, Stress, Alcohol, Fatigue, Emotion
- If the weather or conditions are questionable, don’t fly.
- Always be prepared. What are your emergency procedures? Make sure all equipment is update to date. SWITLIK Survival products offers constant wear life vests, life rafts, and anti-exposure suits and undergarments.
- Never fly lower than 1,000 feet above ground level. That helps avoid wires, trees and other obstacles.
The IHST offers an extensive library of safety resources for chopper pilots -- from safety management toolkits to training tips to maintenance toolkits. The IHST, made up of a team of government and industry leaders, addresses key factors the affect civil helicopter accident rates. The vision/mission is to have zero civil helicopter accidents.
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