The U.S. Helicopter Safety Team (USHST) says it is advocating a package of safety enhancements addressing visibility issues in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) as one element of a broader effort to prevent fatal helicopter accidents.
The effort stems from an analysis by the government-industry group of the root causes of fatal helicopter accidents. The study is expected to be released later this year.
The visibility-related safety enhancements include the development of recommended practices for all crewmembers to “detect increased risk levels during the course of a flight,” to communicate with each other about the increased risk and to make decisions on appropriate risk mitigation, USHST said Wednesday.
Other plans call for including the teaching of threat and error management in initial and recurrent pilot training; researching and developing the use of night vision goggles and other enhanced helicopter vision systems to help recognize weather-related visibility problems at night; and developing training for recognition of spatial disorientation and recovery.
Initial efforts in these four areas will be focused on personal/private helicopter operations, emergency medical services, aerial application and commercial operations, USHST said.
The organization said it will announce other safety efforts within the next few weeks aimed at preventing loss of control and encouraging competency and safety management.