Review of helicopter accidents has shown that the majority of accidents involve small helicopters. Although the type of helicopter and the nature of these operations are different to those which are currently subject to HOMP, it may be possible that a similar programme could also have safety benefits for small helicopter operations.
The first phase of the study therefore focuses on a review of the technologies available for providing FDM on small helicopters (e.g. data recording technologies and cockpit video recording technologies), a review of the analysis/software systems available to provide operators with the necessary analysis and diagnostic capabilities, and an analysis of the costs and benefits of a range of FDM and HOMP system configurations and capabilities.
The objective of the second phase of the study will be to perform an 'in-service' trial (about 1000 flight hours) of a small helicopter HOMP/FDM system configuration, involving the operational use of the system by the aircraft owner/operator. This will involve the provision of an analysis system suitable for the owner/operator to use in support of normal day-to-day operations. The flight trials are expected to demonstrate the effectiveness of the system in providing the expected benefits and derive from the results recommendations in respect of the extent to which owners/operators of small helicopters can be expected to make appropriate use of the data.