The number of helicopter accidents in the United States increased last year from 2016, but the overall number reported internationally declined in 2017, according to preliminary statistics released by the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) and its U.S. affiliate, the United States Helicopter Safety Team (USHST).
In the United States, there were 121 helicopter accidents in 2017, of which 20 were fatal accidents that resulted in 34 fatalities. In 2016, the U.S. helicopter industry had 108 accidents, of which 17 were fatal, with 29 fatalities, USHST said.
The U.S. helicopter accident rate in 2017 was 3.55 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, and the fatal accident rate was 0.59 per 100,000 flight hours, USHST said. While both rates were up from 2016 (from 3.45 and 0.54, respectively), last year’s fatal accident rate was still below the annual goal of 0.69 fatal accidents per 100,000 flight hours set by USHST.
USHST is focusing its attention on reducing fatal accidents in the U.S. helicopter community, and targeted a fatal accident rate of 0.61 per 100,000 flight hours by 2019. The goal for this year is 0.65.
Preliminary data gathered from 49 countries, including the United States, indicate there were 239 helicopter accidents last year, of which 44 were fatal. In 2016, there 255 accidents, of which 53 were fatal. Other countries included in the list of 49 are Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia and 10 other countries from the Commonwealth of Independent States, and 32 European countries, IHST said.