WASHINGTON DC – The International Helicopter Safety Team, in cooperation with safety experts from throughout the civil helicopter industry, has developed a new safety bulletin which offers pilots a thorough look at the importance of precautionary landings.
The new Safety Bulletin examines the perceptions behind precautionary landings and the concern that pilots have about this type of action. “Many pilots have perceptional fears for discontinuing a flight, and they fail to focus on the negative consequences of continuing a flight under frail conditions. In certain scenarios, these false perceptions can be a strong influencer over better pilot judgment. A number of perceptional fears may cause a pilot to press on, rather than to discontinue by executing a precautionary landing in response to unexpected conditions.”
- Fear of ridicule by other pilots
- Fear of punitive action by an employer
- Fear of FAA enforcement
- Fear of the inconveniences caused
- Fear of losing personal pride or ego
The Safety Bulletin also discusses the decision-making process by a helicopter pilot for making a precautionary landing, i.e., what type of scenario would prompt a pilot to land immediately; what conditions would trigger a landing as soon as possible; and what issues would make a pilot consider to land as soon as practical. The document also highlights the conflicting issue of “deciding to land” versus “reacting to land.”
The IHST promotes safety and works to reduce accidents. The organization was formed in 2005 to lead a government and industry cooperative effort to address factors that were affecting an unacceptable helicopter accident rate. Prior to 2006, the number of worldwide civil helicopter accidents was rising at a rate of 2.5 percent per year. Since 2006, the number of accidents worldwide has been decreasing by an annual rate of 2 percent. More information about the IHST, its reports, safety tools, and presentations can be obtained at its web site at www.IHST.org and on the IHST Facebook page.