California Keeps Top Slot, Hosting Most 2017 Accidents, US Safety Team Says

By S.L. Fuller | February 9, 2018
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Helicopter pilot checking the flight manual before a take off. Helicopter is on the ground with bright sunlight.

File photo

The U.S. Helicopter Safety Team uses the NTSB’s definition of “accident,” which is an occurrence in which the aircraft sustains “substantial damage” that happens after an aircraft is boarded with the intention of flight and before all passengers have disembarked. During 2017, 21 helicopter accidents took place in California, making it the state that hosted the most accidents last year.

With information from the NTSB, the safety team compiled a fact sheet that outlines the amount of helicopter accidents that occurred in each state in 2017:

  1. California — 21 accidents
  2. Texas — 12 accidents
  3. Florida — 9 accidents
  4. Indiana — 7 accidents
  5. Louisiana — 6 accidents
  6. Nevada — 5 accidents
  7. Illinois — 5 accidents

That list’s top three align with the data from the previous 10 years, 2007 to 2016, when a total of 1,457 accidents occurred in the U.S.

  1. California — 177 accidents
  2. Texas — 164 accidents
  3. Florida — 104 accidents
  4. Arizona — 87 accidents
  5. Washington  — 57 accidents
  6. Alaska — 54 accidents
  7. Oregon  — 46 accidents

“Usually, helicopter accidents occur in states where more helicopters are flying year round and where helicopters operate most often for industry purposes,” the team said. “During the 10-year period from 2007 to 2016, a large percentage of helicopter operations took place west of the Rocky Mountains and that is reflected in the accident totals.”

Although the top three states are pretty consistent, the team said the states outside of those positions tend to vary each year.

The team uses this data to help plan safety events. Paired with data from its study on fatal accidents in the U.S., the team decides where to hold events and what content to bring to those locations.

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