Accident rates for U.S. helicopters declined in 2016 for the third consecutive year, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
There were 106 accidents in 2016, with an overall accident rate of 3.19 per 100,000 flight hours, compared with 121 accidents and an accident rate of 3.67 per 100,000 accidents in 2015, the FAA said.
Seventeen fatal accidents were recorded both years, with a fatal accident rate of 0.51 per 100,000 flight hours in 2016, compared with 0.52 per 100,000 in 2015.
“The FAA and the helicopter industry have worked together to educate the civil helicopter community about safe practices, to drive these improved results,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said. “The FAA and the industry also are taking an active role in advancing safety through new technology, collaborative policy changes and proactive outreach.”
The U.S. Helicopter Safety Team (USHST) — a government-industry effort to promote safety — said the 2016 overall helicopter accident rate represented a decline of 13 percent from 2015 and a decline of 27 percent since 2013, when USHST was formed. Fatal helicopter accidents declined 43 percent in the same period.