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The European Helicopter Safety Team (EHEST) releases preliminary analysis results

The EuropeanHelicopter Safety Team (EHEST) has released today its preliminary analysisreport on helicopter accidents occurred in EASA Member States between 2000 and 2005. Analysis is the first step towards reducing the helicopter accident rate by80% by 2016, an objective stated by the International HelicopterSafety Team. To reach this objective, EHSAT, the EuropeanHelicopter Safety Analysis Team, was formed with the purpose of identifyingsafety issues and intervention recommendations. The report presents the resultsof 186 accidents where a final investigation report has been issued by the responsibleAccident Investigation Board.

Of the accidentsanalysed so far, 72 involve General Aviation operations, 66 AerialWork, 40 Commercial Air Transport, and 8 State Flights.

68% of the fatalaccidents and 34% of all accidents analysed by EHSAT occurred during the enroute phase of flight. In 33% of the accidents, the pilot had less than 1,000hours total helicopter experience. In 26% of the accidents, the pilot had lessthan 100 hours flight experience on the helicopter type involved in theaccident. However, accidents also occurred to very experienced pilots.

The accidentanalysis aims at identifying all factors, causal or contributory, that played arole in the accidents.The top three identified areas are Pilotjudgment and actions, Safety Management andSafety Culture, and Pilot situation awareness.  Different patternswere observed for Commercial Air Transport, Aerial Work and General Aviation.

To tackle thevariety of languages used in accident reportsand optimise the use of resources, EHSAT has established nine regional analysisteams across Europe. Regional analyses are consolidatedat European level. This initiative is unique in its efforts to conduct aEuropean wide analysis of helicopter accidents.

EHSAT derived suggestionsfor safety enhancement, called intervention recommendations, from the analyses.Most of these address training and instruction, flight operations, Safety Management and Safety Culture, as well as regulations and standards.The EHSAT intervention recommendations are currently being processed by theEuropean Helicopter Safety Implementation Team (EHSIT) launched on 5 February2009.

EHEST isactively seeking new participants and all who are interested in taking part inthis safety-enhancing work are encouraged to contact the EHEST secretariat.