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Sat, Aug 12, 2023

USHST September Safety Events Announced

Organization Seeks Zero Fatal Civil Helicopter Mishaps

The United States Helicopter Safety Team (USHST)—a volunteer team of US government and industry stakeholders formed to improve the safety of civil helicopter operations in the National Airspace System (NAS)—is hosting two safety-focused events in September. All interested members of the vertical lift industry are invited to attend.

The events include a nearly day-long “COPTER IFR/Weather Camera Summit” on Monday, 11 September, followed by USHST’s quarterly “All Hands” meeting on 12 September. Both events are available for in-person or online attendance. USHST will hold the events at the offices of the Helicopter Association International’s headquarters (HAI) in Alexandria, Virginia. Registration for both events, either in-person or online, is required and may be seen to at https://tinyurl.com/2wshuen4.

Attendees with active FAASTeam accounts may be able to earn FAA WINGS and/or AMT credit for attendance at the USHST All Hands Meeting. Final credits are issued after FAA verification of webinar attendance.

USHST Industry Co-Chair Chris Burr stated: “The purpose of the COPTER IFR & Weather Camera Summit is to provide a venue for operators and the FAA to discuss challenges and identify opportunities to collaborate for improvement. This COPTER IFR and weather camera summit is intended to bring attention to the barriers involved in flight with COPTER IFR and to advocate for the much-needed improvements desired by operators.”

Mr. Burr continued: “The USHST is asking for additional support for the FAA Weather Camera network and necessary resources for its complete expansion throughout the entire United States. The FAA has indicated an 85-percent reduction in weather-related accidents and a 69-percent reduction in weather-related flight interruptions from 2007-2014—based on pilot decision making related to the cameras. The USHST and HAI are soliciting your support and advocacy to expand the program and increase funding. Additionally, efficient alternative weather sources that can be used in IFR operations to support safe decision making. This is a great opportunity for operators with IFR programs to share their experiences, challenges and recommendations.”

The summit will provide opportunities to contemplate challenges experienced by operators conducting COPTER IFR:

  • Use of COPTER Instrument Approaches as both Primary and Alternate locations.
  • Repositioning helicopters between pads within the same aerodrome.
  • Inaccessibility and underutilization of IFR clearances for procedures and routes.
  • Exclusion of Special Instrument Departures and Airways from the NASR for flight plan filing.
  • When combined with approved weather products, weather camera images become a powerful “go-or-no-go” aviation flight decision tool.

The IFR/Weather Camera Summit runs from 09:00 to 16:00 EDT, with a break for lunch, and will include seminars pertaining to weather cameras and pre-flight risk assessments. During the presentation, panelists will provide updates germane to the weather camera program and answer audience questions.

The quarterly All-Hands meeting will take place Tuesday, 12 September 2023, from 13:00 to 16:00 EDT. The USHST vision of zero fatal civil helicopter accidents is a lofty goal, but work on several key helicopter safety enhancements (H-SE) evinces the team’s optimism.

The last round of H-SE projects are complete and five new ones have commenced with a focus on continued reduction in fatal accident rates. Agenda items to be addressed include:

  • Monthly FAA Rotorcraft Accident Briefing
  • H-SE #125 Preflight/risk assessment
  • Weather camera usage for decision-making
  • FAA lessons learned library awareness

Those attending onsite are invited to join a networking reception from 16:00 to 17:00 EDT.

FMI: www.ushst.org

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