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Old 9th Oct 2012, 08:53   #1 (permalink)
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Helicopter Safety Statistics

A home for helicopter safety - statistics and discussion.
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Old 9th Oct 2012, 08:58   #2 (permalink)
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Q3 2012 Helicopter Accident & Incident Statistics

I have presented some accident and incident information to provide a basic overview of the same. The data is sourced from Jeremy Parkin's helicopter news site Helihub.

Jeremy would be the first to admit that this information is neither exhaustive nor precise however, his data is among the best which is readily available via open source and provides a good indication of what's going on out there.

These figures are therefore an indicative overview intended to provide a basic awareness of the level of helicopter accidents and incidents and their associated proportional fatalities.

Further information on the data presented here is available from Helihub's accident pages.

KEY: AG = Agricultural ELO = External Load Operations EMS = Emergency Medical Service FILM = All operations involving photographic work including news, filming and photography MIL = Military OFF = Offshore POL = Police SAR = Search & Rescue TRG = Training

Again, please note, all statistics presented here are indicative only.


Last edited by Savoia; 11th Oct 2012 at 08:03. Reason: Update Helistats
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Old 9th Oct 2012, 10:05   #3 (permalink)
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Is there a reason for the discrepancy in the first row, where the total does not match the sum of the two categories of accident (whereas in the subsequent rows it does?)
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Old 9th Oct 2012, 10:39   #4 (permalink)
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Yes. Its is sometimes referred to as an embedded numerical input deficit or ENID for short and is commonly used in aptitude and IQ tests to ascertain the level of alertness of the reader. I'm glad to say that you've passed with flying colours!

The other (more pedestrian) explanation is that I simply screwed up!

Quite right .. the JAN total should read 43. Many thanks.
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Old 9th Oct 2012, 11:13   #5 (permalink)
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Ah - Blighton syndrome

Thanks for going to the trouble of showing the stats though
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Old 9th Oct 2012, 11:31   #6 (permalink)
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212 prego.

To be fair I realise that it is just a snapshot and that all it can show are the basic levels of incidence. But, its sobering (for instance) to know that some 336 people have perished so far this year in rotary-wing accidents.

I plan to speak with Jeremy to see if it possible to arrange for some amount of 'cataloguing-in-publishing' so that it might be easier to collate additional details such as operational sectors and locations.
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Old 9th Oct 2012, 11:54   #7 (permalink)
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@ Savoia... thank you... for letting us know of 212man's pregnancy.
@ 212man... congrats on your new status...

ok, now going out. Grazie mille. Safe flying and keep up the precious infos... most appreciated. Al

Last edited by alicopter; 9th Oct 2012 at 11:55.
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Old 9th Oct 2012, 12:16   #8 (permalink)
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Savoia, you began this thread with1,482 "posts" to your credit.

It apears that having posted a further 4 times you still have 1,482 posts!

Another ENID?

Did I pass?
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Old 9th Oct 2012, 12:58   #9 (permalink)
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Lol! Well you've certainly passed in terms of attention to detail Cladosporangium (its not something I would normally notice).

From what I've seen, PPRuNe is home to a variety of cyberactive mysteries .. one of them was the 'Time Stamp Fairy' which scattered everyone's posts at random throughout an existing thread so that you might find your current post placed on page 2 of an 80 page thread. That was great fun!

There are doubtless many other anomalies to which PPRuNe is host and my guess is that we are just beginning to discover them!
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Old 9th Oct 2012, 18:25   #10 (permalink)
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Are any/how many of these military incidents, and are war-zone helicopters included?
It looks scary for sure!
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Old 9th Oct 2012, 18:38   #11 (permalink)
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We don't have any details of these accidents but I suspect few will have an airworthiness cause. In the main, perfectly serviceable aircraft are crashed. Not always, of course.
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Old 9th Oct 2012, 19:40   #12 (permalink)
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These numbers must be higher than those for the equivalent fixed wing/GA population?
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Old 9th Oct 2012, 20:38   #13 (permalink)
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Helicopter Safety Statistics? 100%?

Its only the accidents/incidents that get counted.
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Old 9th Oct 2012, 22:37   #14 (permalink)
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Helicopter Performance abuse?

In the 139 thread I wrote the following (in Italics) but feel it is worthy of discussion in the context of Savoia's accident data as the subject seems to be one that is glossed over by many pilots that I meet whilst doing recurrent and TR training on the 139. The original was a response by Arcal 76 who got my attention when he described the extremes he is expected to go to when doing his day-to-day job. Avoiding accidents doesn't require you to emulate the Test Pilot but it does require you to say 'NO' every now and then. We have, I believe, a mindset worthy of change and don't think for one moment that the application of Cat A will make accidents go away.

Arcal 76
We use 102% for all take-off and landing including a "vertical cat.B take-off"created from nowhere by our company because the aircraft is to heavy.When you are above 6400 kg all time in Summer, of course it is difficult to comply with a cat.A profile and you become creative.

The 139 was designed to deliver Cat A at a sensible mass (read payloads). The sad thing is that whilst we don't see too many helicopter accidents caused by engine failures during take off or landing, we do see many accidents caused by pilots who, for whatever reason, take off at a mass that is too great for the manoeuvre they wish to perform.

The three elements of Cat A operation are mass, profile and obstacle environment. If you want to pick just one then make it the mass. If you have to operate above that (Cat B), or use a higher TDP/LDP then use a profile you are familiar with (sim training should condition you to react quickly and correctly if you have an engine failure at a critical moment). Under Cat A a rejected take off should result in no damage to airframe or passengers. It would be reasonable to suggest that experience gained to date (Malaysia) indicates that a reject above a Cat A weight may damage the airframe but the excellent crashworthiness properties built into the 139 will protect the occupants provided the gear is down and the landing is made in a level-ish attitude.

In all of this we must not loose sight of the fact that Cat A is just one element in any risk-assessment process and whether the pilot realises it or not every take-off or landing manoeuvre should be risk assessed. There are many occasions when working offshore or HEMS or even VIP/corporate where you are required to operate to and/or from unfamiliar or challenging (offshore with complex obstacle environment) sites and the risk assessment may place a slow and gentle arrival above any Cat A considerations. Cat A is just one tool in the toolbox.

In the end if you are having to do extraordinary things to get the job done you may just be working a little too close to the edge. Satisfying when you succeed but not what you Safety Manager wants to hear about.

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Old 10th Oct 2012, 08:10   #15 (permalink)
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Wondering are you member & participate here:

(I do )
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Old 10th Oct 2012, 09:24   #16 (permalink)
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Another internet site where find accidents/incidents is the following:
Aviation Safety Network >

All people can add or edit accidents; it is quite complete.
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Old 10th Oct 2012, 11:30   #17 (permalink)
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In order to make sense of such accident data,and to answer questions posed about "how safe or how risky" you need to be able to estimate the accident rate. To do that you need to know how much flying has been done. Usually, you need flying hours, but number of movements is also useful.

Generally speaking, getting the flying hours/movements for a population is more difficult than knowing about the accidents. You also need to get such data for the same population as you have accident data.

Quite often there are comparisons made between rotary and other types of flying. Usually, helicopters come off worst in such comparisons (i.e. the accident rate for helicopters is higher). However, helicopters do things that other aircraft cannot do. Those extra things often carry a higher risk. Helicopters tend to operate over shorter distances and do more movements. As another generalisation, the ends of movements (i.e. take-offs and landings) are the high hazard parts of a flight. So it is less surprising that helicopter accident rates are higher.

I am always interested to see the individual reports: Both as an analyst and pilot you can learn so much from the circumstances of an accident.

Last edited by Helinut; 10th Oct 2012 at 11:33.
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Old 11th Oct 2012, 08:44   #18 (permalink)
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I have had to 'amend' the stats (see above) to correct further omissions which were made during their compilation. During the process I have extrapolated some further basic data to provide a little more context. This includes a regional distribution of the information as well as an indication of the operational sectors within which they occurred.

Regarding the latter, it should be said that for the vast majority of incidents no specific operational information was available and which lack of definition I simply labelled as 'GA' for General Aviation and which 'sector' I did not present in the final pie as it would have unnecessarily reduced the space available to present the remaining (relevant) information.

As stated originally, the data presented is nothing more than an estimate and my reason for utilising Helihub as an information source is based on the fact that their information tends to be one of the most complete and, crucially, constantly up-dated.

~ ~ ~

Alicopter: Most amusing.

Grenville: As Helinut has mentioned, equivalent statistics for the fixed-wing general aviation sector would certainly be less, for the reasons provided.

A large percentage of commercial fixed-wing general aviation still primarily involves one take-off and one landing (per sortie) at a known or predetermined location with appropriate 'facilities' to accommodate such landing or take-off.

The highest risk areas for fixed-wing general aviation would be operations in mountainous terrain, remote area (bush) locations and agricultural work.

As can be seen from the 'Sector Summary' above (the bottom pie) aside from military operations helicopters are engaged in a wide range of specialist tasks the risk levels of which are considerably higher than those in most (but not all) fixed-wing operations. Military, agricultural, EMS and external load operations remain among the highest risk categories.

RVDT: Yes you are right and I have re-labelled the table and corresponding post title but, as you probably know, one cannot amend the thread title without a little help from the mod and which SP may well do!

Geoffers: Well said.

9A+: Will check it out and perhaps PM you for more details.

Aegir: Grazie.
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Old 14th Oct 2012, 23:51   #19 (permalink)
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Savoia - Interesting (and flattered!) to see this analysis. Just so you know this is a moving target. Further research has today added another 14 accidents from 2012 to the files. More to go.
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Old 21st Apr 2015, 14:20   #20 (permalink)
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Not much info [I-N-F-O] on changes and trends in accidents [A-C-C-I-D-E-N-T-S] but lots of really useful [U-S-E-F-U-L] publications on the website [W-E-B-S-I-T-E] EHEST | EHEST
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