Forex

Helicopter Crash: A Common and Deadly Risk in Aviation

Helicopter crash is a term that refers to the occurrence of a helicopter losing control and colliding with the ground, water, or another object. Helicopter crashes can result in serious injuries or fatalities for the crew and passengers, as well as damage or destruction of the helicopter and the surrounding environment. Helicopter crashes can be caused by various factors, such as human error, mechanical failure, weather conditions, terrain, or external interference. Helicopter crashes can also have various impacts, such as legal, economic, social, or environmental consequences. In this article, we will review some of the key aspects of helicopter crash, such as its statistics, causes, prevention, and examples.

Statistics

Helicopter crash is a common and deadly risk in aviation. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), there were 1,016 helicopter accidents worldwide from 2013 to 2017, resulting in 1,099 fatalities. The United States had the highest number of helicopter accidents (334) and fatalities (341) in this period. The global helicopter accident rate was 6.9 per 100,000 flight hours in 2017.

According to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), there were 122 helicopter accidents in the U.S. in 2020, resulting in 45 fatalities. The U.S. helicopter accident rate was 3.77 per 100,000 flight hours in 2020. The most common types of helicopter accidents in the U.S. were loss of control in flight (24%), system/component failure (23%), collision with terrain/water (16%), and wire strike (10%).

Causes

Helicopter crash can be caused by various factors that can be classified into four categories: human factors, mechanical factors, environmental factors, and operational factors.

  • Human Factors: Human factors are the errors or mistakes made by the pilot or other crew members that can affect the performance or safety of the flight. Human factors can include fatigue,

stress,

distraction,

inattention,

miscommunication,

poor judgment,

lack of training,

or violation of rules.

  • Mechanical Factors: Mechanical factors are the failures or malfunctions of the helicopter’s systems or components that can affect the functionality or reliability of the flight. Mechanical factors can include engine failure,

rotor failure,

fuel system failure,

electrical system failure,

hydraulic system failure,

or fire.

  • Environmental Factors: Environmental factors are the external conditions or events that can affect the visibility or stability of the flight. Environmental factors can include weather conditions,

such as wind,

rain,

fog,

snow,

or ice;

terrain features,

such as mountains,

hills,

trees,

or buildings;

or obstacles,

such as wires,

poles,

or birds.

  • Operational Factors: Operational factors are the decisions or actions made by the pilot or other crew members that can affect the planning or execution of the flight. Operational factors can include improper loading,

overloading,

fuel management,

flight plan,

altitude selection,

speed selection,

or emergency procedures.

Prevention

Helicopter crash can be prevented by various measures that can be implemented by the pilot, the operator, the manufacturer, or the regulator.

  • Pilot: The pilot can prevent helicopter crash by following the standard operating procedures (SOPs),

conducting pre-flight checks and inspections,

maintaining situational awareness and communication,

using appropriate instruments and navigation aids,

avoiding hazardous weather and terrain,

and applying emergency procedures when needed.

  • Operator: The operator can prevent helicopter crash by providing adequate training and supervision for the pilot and other crew members,

ensuring proper maintenance and repair of the helicopter and its systems and components,

implementing safety management systems (SMS),

and complying with applicable regulations and standards.

  • Manufacturer: The manufacturer can prevent helicopter crash by designing and producing reliable and durable helicopters and their systems and components,

conducting rigorous testing and quality control,

providing clear and accurate manuals and instructions,

and reporting and addressing any defects or issues.

  • Regulator: The regulator can prevent helicopter crash by establishing and enforcing rules and regulations for helicopter operations and safety,

conducting audits and inspections,

issuing licenses and certificates,

investigating accidents and incidents,

and recommending improvements and corrections.

Examples

Helicopter crash has occurred in various contexts and situations around the world. Some examples of notable helicopter crashes are:

  • Kobe Bryant Crash: On January 26, 2020, a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter carrying basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven other people crashed into a hillside near Calabasas, California, killing all onboard. The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the crash was the pilot’s decision to continue flight under visual flight rules (VFR) into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), resulting in spatial disorientation and loss of control.
  • Leicester City Crash: On October 27, 2018, an AgustaWestland AW169 helicopter carrying Leicester City Football Club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four other people crashed shortly after taking off from the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, killing all onboard. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) determined that the probable cause of the crash was the loss of yaw control due to a failure of the tail rotor actuator control shaft.
  • Nepal Crash: On July 11, 2023, a Manang Air helicopter carrying five Mexican tourists and a Nepali pilot crashed soon after taking off from Lukla, a gateway for climbing expeditions to Mount Everest, killing all onboard. The cause of the crash is still under investigation by the Nepalese authorities and the NTSB.

Conclusion

Helicopter crash is a term that refers to the occurrence of a helicopter losing control and colliding with the ground, water, or another object. Helicopter crashes can result in serious injuries or fatalities for the crew and passengers, as well as damage or destruction of the helicopter and the surrounding environment. Helicopter crashes can be caused by various factors, such as human error, mechanical failure, weather conditions, terrain, or external interference. Helicopter crashes can also have various impacts, such as legal, economic, social, or environmental consequences. Helicopter crashes can be prevented by various measures that can be implemented by the pilot, the operator, the manufacturer, or the regulator. Helicopter crashes have occurred in various contexts and situations around the world.

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