International Helicopter Safety Team Reports Decline in Accidents Around the World

CIS and Brazil show a significant increase in accidents.

Bell Helicopter
While the U.S. and European countries are showing promising declines in the number of helicopter accidents, Brazil and the CIS aren't as fortunate.Bell

Members of the International Helicopter Safety Team said Wednesday at the Heli-Expo show in Dallas that they’re encouraged by a trend that shows the total number of accidents has declined in the 50 countries around the globe the IHST surveyed.

In the United States, for instance, total accidents in 2016 declined to 106 from 121 the year before. In Canada, total accidents declined from 31 in 2015 to 27 last year. Surveying 32 European countries also showed a significant decrease in accidents from 84 in 2015 to 52 in 2016. India recorded but a single accident in 2016 compared to the four it experienced the year before.

But the trend is not encouraging everywhere around the world, with numbers from Brazil and the 11 countries that form the Commonwealth of Independent States, including Russia, showing significant increases in total accidents.

In Brazil, the number of accidents climbed from 17 in 2015 to 19 last year, while in the CIS those totals grew from 22 accidents in 2015 to 30 in 2016. In Europe the fatal accident numbers also declined while in the number of fatal accidents in the CIS climbed from 10 in 2015 to 12 last year.

The IHST reported that in the United States, fatal accident numbers remained unchanged with 17 in both 2015 and 2016. Using combined data from the 50 countries surveyed, comparing the years between 2013 and 2016, total accidents declined by 29 percent while fatal accidents dropped by 31 percent.

The IHST attributed the improving safety trends in most parts of the world to an expanding culture of safety, as well as increased cooperation between governments and the helicopter industry. In the near future, the U.S. helicopter teams plan to step up their efforts to reduce fatal accidents. The IHST believes that something as simple as translating many of the team’s safety enhancement documents into Russian could make a significant impact on accidents numbers in the CIS.