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Global Helicopter Flight Data Monitoring Steering Group Formed

Group seeks to standardize and improve HFDM practices across industry.

A new organization has formed founded on a desire to increase helicopter safety by promoting best practice and cooperation in the design, support and operation of Helicopter Flight Data Monitoring (HFDM).

The Global Helicopter Flight Data Monitoring (HFDM)Steering Group was formed following the CHC (Canada Helicopter Corporation) Safety & Quality Summit held in Vancouver, Canada at the end of March. Bringing together more than 70 people representing 48 organizations from across the globe in all aspects of the industry, the Steering Group seeks to make HFDM as accessible as possible to all operators both large and small, by sharing information with the intent of making HFDM easy for operators to implement.

The wide adoption of HFDM has been recognized as a key initiative by the International Helicopter Safety Team, formed in 2005 with a vision of reducing the rate of civil helicopter accidents by 80% within 10 years. The Global HFDM Steering Group will publish information on its website, which is expected to be ready in the near future, and it will also be linked to the IHST website, which will host information in the interim.

The Global HFDM Steering Group is co-chaired by Captain Mike Pilgrim, FDM Advisor for CHC Helicopter's European Operations and Joseph Syslo, Senior Manager, Aviation Safety for American Eurocopter. "My number one goal for this group is to promote what I call 'joined-up thinking'," said Pilgrim, regarding HFDM. "By working together to make HFDM simpler and more uniform across the industry, we'll see much greater adoption of the technology and a marked improvement in flight safety. The helicopter community has recognized that HFDM is the future; now we have to work to ensure that there's every reason to use it." Pilgrim, long a proponent of HFDM, organized an HFDM Day to follow last year's CHC Safety & Quality Summit in order to help open industry-wide communications between the original equipment manufacturers, operators, equipment suppliers and other industry players. Based on the positive response, a further workshop was organized at this year's Safety & Quality Summit in Vancouver which resulted in the formation of the Community's 13 member Steering Group, and working groups on Technical, Operational and Communications issues.

Many key players of the International Helicopter Safety Team from Europe and the US are actively involved with the Global HFDM initiative, ensuring close cooperation with wider safety implementation efforts internationally. The goals of the organization, as agreed at this first meeting of the steering group, were:
Coordinate user requirements for HFDM systems and support and advise aircraft and equipment manufacturers in meeting those requirements.
Provide a source of expertise, information and advice for users wishing to adopt HFDM.
Develop and communicate industry best practice on HFDM matters.

“The organized global approach to HDFM by industry leaders is an exciting initiative, and is the right step at the right time,” said Syslo about the Global HFDM Steering Group “Mike Pilgrim’s idea of engaging all segments of the HFDM community to not only develop guidelines and best practices, but to communicate the results back to the end users is key to our success.” The next gathering of the Global HFDM Community will be held alongside the International Helicopter Safety Symposium and Helitech show in Estoril, Portugal during the first week of October, 2010.

FMI; www.HFDM.org, www.IHST.org

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