Alexandria, VA (July 23, 2009) - Helicopter Association International (HAI) hosted a two-day International Helicopter Safety Team Executive Committee meeting with participation by US JHSAT and US JHSIT, July 20/21, at HAI headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.
The members agreed for the need to develop and implement a coordinated marketing/promotional outreach campaign to increase public awareness, and to develop actionable strategies to help achieve the target goal of reducing the worldwide helicopter accident rate by 80 percent in 10 years. There was also discussion on further expanding the IHST program to Korea and Russia. The group discussed the upcoming Third International Helicopter Safety Symposium, which will be held September 29 - October 1, 2009, at the Hotel Hilton Montréal Bonaventure, Montréal, Québec, Canada.
IHST was modeled after the successful Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST). Participating regions support two sub-groups: a Joint Helicopter Safety Analysis Team (JHSAT) and a Joint Helicopter Safety Implementation Team (JHSIT). JHSAT reviews accident data and develops risk mitigation recommendations, while the JHSIT develops strategies to implement the recommendations. IHST is currently working with regional safety partners in the EU, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Japan, GCC, and India.
The US JHSAT team announced that the CY2001 accident analysis would be released in Montréal at IHSS and was nearing completion, and expected to issue a report by October 2009 on the CY2006 analysis. The US JHSIT uses the report recommendations to fashion a US helicopter safety road map, and for proposing mitigation strategies and recommending appropriate interventions. Several mitigation strategies were discussed at this meeting, including; the release of the second version of the IHST SMS toolkit, which is nearing completion, the creation of "safety culture," improved training, including the use of advanced simulators and, in some cases, the introduction of new technologies, especially in the area of flight data monitoring (FDM). These strategies would take into account safety actions that make business sense for small and medium helicopter operators, and cover a wide range of flight operations and varied environments.
HAI has long been a leader in promoting safety and establishing safety programs for the helicopter industry. HAI supports this endeavor and is proud to be in the forefront of this challenge to reduce helicopter accident rates.
The IHST was formed as a call to action after long-term worldwide helicopter accident data trends failed to show significant improvement during the last 20 years. This concern set the stage for the first International Helicopter Safety Symposium (IHSS), which was held in Montréal, Canada in 2005. Nearly 300 industry leaders including HAI, a number of aviation associations, manufacturers, international government regulatory communities such as the Federal Aviation Association (FAA), and helicopter operators, agreed that something had to be done to bring down the accident rate. The attendees made a commitment to launch an aggressive effort to reduce by 80 percent the worldwide helicopter accident rate by the year 2016.