Business Aviation Insider - January/February 2014 (PREVIEW) - (Page 29)
its symposium in February, the organization will focus on
what it has deemed one of the most important aspects of
improving safety: "helicopter pilot self-discipline and personal
Across the categories of helicopter accidents it studied, the
IHST found that a staggering 84 percent were due to "pilot
judgment and actions." Bringing that number down requires a
concerted effort from the entire industry, from training programs,
to helicopter manufacturers themselves.
"We knew it wasn't going to be easy," says Molinaro. "Helicopters are a very different industry than [fixed-wing] aviation, and it
can be tough to make headway." But Molinaro says the industry as a whole has increased its efforts recently, with airframe
IHST Identifies 12 'Operational Pitfalls'
» Responding to peer pressure, which can lead to poor
» Mental expectancy, or the cognitive dissonance that can
occur during an unexpected change in situation.
» "Get-There-Itis," which is when a pilot forgets the journey
is more important than the destination.
» Duck-under syndrome, which occurs when a pilot
descends below minimums on approach with the
mistaken belief that there's room for error: Ducking under
is the error.
» Scud running, or essentially flying dangerously low to the
ground, is sometimes a result of the next pitfall.
» Continuing VFR into IFR conditions. If you're not qualified
to fly in instrument conditions, you're not qualified. As
HAI president Matt Zuccaro wrote in a much-cited editorial in August 2013, sometimes you just have to "land the
» Getting behind the aircraft or allowing events to control
your actions instead of the other way around.
» Loss of positional/situational awareness.
» Operating without adequate fuel reserves.
» Descent below the minimum en-route altitude, which is
essentially scud running at altitude.
» Flying outside the envelope, meaning a pilot is operating
outside the aircraft's performing capabilities.
» Neglect of flight planning, preflight inspections, checklists, etc.
manufacturers providing IHST
safety materials with every newly
delivered helicopter and training
centers like Embry-Riddle University actively promoting safety and
At the end of 2013, IHST
debuted a mobile app for helicopter pilots, which puts safety
"toolkits" and materials within convenient reach. "We are making
every effort to get those safety tools into the cockpit," Molinaro
says. The second phase of the program will be unveiled early
this year, and will comprise a safety "game" pilots can play that
will reward them with FAA credits.
The 2016 deadline is looming for meeting the safety goal, and
Molinaro acknowledges that accident rates have not decreased.
"The numbers are up this year ," he says. "It's trending the
wrong way." Yet IHST members and organizations across the
industry are making a concerted effort in the hopes of making
helicopter flight safer. "If we want to make a dent," Molinaro
says, "we'll continue to push."
Will Washington's capitol heliport
In 1998, the South Capitol Street Heliport (SCSH) in Washington,
DC boasted 41 based operators, including corporate emergency
medical services and law enforcement rotorcraft. On Sept. 11,
2001, the heliport became a critical operational hub for military
and police helicopters.
Due to security concerns, however, operations were dramatically limited for the next few years, and in 2005, the FAA
prohibited all civil operations into SCSH save for medevac. Today,
only Metropolitan Police Department, U.S. Army, and medevac
"The time is overdue to change a reactionary decision the
nation was forced to make after 9/11," said Rep. Eleanor Holmes
Norton (D-DC) in july 2013. There has been talk before of
re-opening SCSH, with no result. But Norton is hoping an amendment she has proposed will finally effect some change. Her
addition to the 2014 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill would prevent the
FAA from enforcing its "no-fly" rule into DC for commercial and
other civil helicopter operators.
The challenge to re-opening the heliport is eerily reminiscent of
the challenge to open it at all. "The vagaries of District politics is
a basic problem for a Washington, DC heliport," according to a
1996 FAA study on "Heliport/Vertiport Implementation."
At the time, a company called Steuart Petroleum owned the
land and had leased it to a helicopter operator that planned
to improve the site. But the operator failed to raise the necessary money for the development, the lease lapsed, and a New
january/February 2014 | 29
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Business Aviation Insider - January/February 2014 (PREVIEW)
Business Aviation Insider - January/February 2014
Tips & Tools
Ask the OSG
Regulatory Hot Topics
Business Aviation in 2014: Framing Up the Year to Come
Out With the Old, in With the New: Three Policy Trends That Could Change How You Fly
In a Still-Recovering Aircraft Market, Refurbishment Takes Off
Midwest Manufacturers ‘Taking Care of Business’ With King Air
Special Section: Corporate Helicopters
Business Aviation Insider - January/February 2014 (PREVIEW)
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