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Rotorcraft Safety: No Margin for Error


The International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) is focused on reducing all helicopter accidents and it envisions an international civil helicopter community that experiences zero accidents. To reach this goal, the IHST is focused on educating all operators and pilots about how civil helicopter accidents occur and how they can be prevented. Any type of accident is unfortunate, but an accident that results in a fatality is especially tragic. Analyzing multiple years of accident data, IHST safety experts have determined what type of operational occurrence contributes the most to helicopter accident fatalities. The data shows that Loss of Control figures into one out of every five fatal accidents with Visibility issues (Visual Meteorological Conditions into Instrument Meteorological Conditions, darkness, fog, glare, etc.) not far behind. Taken together, Loss of Control and Visibility problems contribute to one-third of all fatal helicopter accidents.

How to Train to Survive a Real Autorotation

Power Failure at Altitude or Forced Landing training is something that we don’t do enough of, and when we do practice, are we doing it properly? Is it best to practice in the aircraft or in the simulator? Are you ready for a real engine failure? Let’s look at some of these questions. Your priorities and actions will change somewhat depending on what condition of flight you are in, and there will be many variables that your instructor should discuss with you. For the purposes of simplicity we will concentrate here mainly on losing power from the cruise condition of flight (above minimum rate of descent autorotation speed)...

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Training Fact Sheet - Energy in Autorotations

Autorotation is to understand the various energies at your disposal. Energy is the ability to do work, and the ones available in an autorotation are: potential, kinetic, and rotational. There is a subtle, but powerful interplay between these energies that we can use to our benefit – but only if we know and understand them. The process of getting from the time/place of the engine failure to safely on the ground can be thought of as an exercise in energy management. That leaves us with 3 types of energy...

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Training Fact Sheet – Rotor Rooter: Rooting for Autorotational Success

The Rotor Rooter Program is an FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) sponsored initiative aimed at reducing light helicopter training accidents in support of IHST’s accident reduction goals. Analysis reveals that approximately 17% of all helicopter accidents occur during training, while a large portion of these training accidents occur during autorotation training. The Rotor Rooter-Acronym Series provides pilots with user friendly acronyms to help them systematically identify, quantify, and mitigate certain risk factors associated with autorotation training. These memory aids can help pilots remember critical factors to consider, while also emphasizing the importance of developing systematic procedures for defending against risk factors inherent with autorotations...

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