Rotorcraft Safety Technologies: The VAST Report

Michel MASSON • 3 May 2023
in community Rotorcraft
1 comment

Combined USHST and ESPN-R Helicopter Safety Technology Emphasis Items


Did you know about this Report published by the VAST Technology Working Group?

VAST_Combined_Safety_Technologies_15Dec2021.pdf, published in Safety Research Analysis and Reports - VAST.

It combines various European and US references and provides a consolidated list of Rotorcraft technologies with safety benefits.


ESPN-R and NLR Reports

In 2014, the European Safety Promotion Network Rotorcraft (ESPN-R) and the Netherlands Research Center (NLR) conducted a sweeping analysis of helicopter safety technologies and produced a report titled "The Potential of Technologies to Mitigate Helicopter Accident Factors”. This study analysed 145 different safety technologies and created a matrix of these technologies integrated with Standard Problem Statements (SPS), Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) and relative cost of implementation. The top 15 technologies were labeled as "highly promising” based on their respective numerical scores on that matrix.

USHST Reports

The United States Helicopter Safety Team and International Helicopter Safety Foundation, now working jointly as the Vertical Aviation Safety Team (VAST), has produced a set of Helicopter Safety Enhancements (HSEs) resulting in a separate list of technologies.

Combined in this VAST Report

The purpose of this VAST report is to extract and group the common technology elements and concepts in these various studies. This list is focused on accident prevention measures and intentionally filters crash survivability measures. Crash survivability remains a concern, but one to be addressed separately.

The report gathers technologies in five Groups:

Group I: Available and Mature Flight Deck Technology

  • Automatic Flight Control Systems (AFCS)
  • Data-derived terrain and obstacle detection systems
  • Synthetic Vision Systems (SVS)

Group II: Emerging or Advancing Technology

  • Cost-Effective IFR Certification
  • ADS-B Out and In
  • Support of e-Conspicuity (aka i-Conspicuity) Initiative
  • Air Data Sensing Systems
  • Active Terrain, Obstacle and Traffic Detection
  • Lightweight Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) warning systems

Group III: Technology for improved operational control, risk management and airman preparedness

  • App-based Smart” Flight Risk Assessment Tool (FRAT)
  • Flight Simulation Training Devices - Helicopter (FSTD-H)
  • Flight Briefing/Preparation/Debriefing app/software applications
  • Helicopter Flight Data Monitoring Systems (HFDM)
  • Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) (aka Flight Data Monitoring (FDM))
  • Optionally Piloted Aircraft (OPA) and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Which technologies are you currently using, or would you consider using?
Thanks for leaving your comment in the Comments section below.



EHEST Study The Potential of Technologies to Mitigate Helicopter Accident Factors | EASA (

NLR-TP-2014-311 - EHEST Study The Potential of Technologies to Mitigate Helicopter Accident Factors

NLR-TP-2018-470 - EHEST Study The Potential of Technologies to Mitigate Helicopter Accident Factors (Update)

Rotorcraft Safety Roadmap | EASA (

Technologies with Safety Benefits | EASA Community (

Use and Benefits of Simulators | EASA Community (

Technology Support – USHST

See also:
Crash-Resistant Fuel Systems, Seats and Structure | EASA Community (

Comments (1)

John Parker

Hi Michel, it is a while since I commented.
Great to see this article on VAST aligns with the work being done in the IOGP Aviation Community for Offshore helicopters through our 690 document.

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