Harald Reichel, an aerospace engineer with the NTSB’s Office of Aviation Safety, examines the engine of a Liberty Helicopters’ helicopter that crashed in the East River March 11, 2018. Photo courtesy of NTSB's Chris O’Neil
Fewer civil helicopters have crashed this year compared with 2017, but more of the choppers that went down took lives in 2018, according to an industry safety group.
A report from the U.S. Helicopter Safety Team shows the crash rate from January through June was 3.44 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, compared to 3.74 during all of 2017.
But so far in 2018, 0.71 fatal accidents have occurred per 100,000 flight hours, 12 this year compared to 10 in the same period last year. The number is a stark departure from its annual goal of only 0.65 fatal accidents or lower per 100,000 flight hours.
By 2019, the industry group hopes to reach a rate of 0.61 fatal accidents per 100,000 flight hours.
In an open letter to the industry released last week, the group is calling on the helicopter community to remember important safeguards before flying. The group called recent crashes "the worst 10-day stretch of fatal accidents [in the U.S.] since late 2012."