People have different reasons to ride helicopters, for sightseeing, for convenience of transport, or just because an airplane flight is not feasible. Whatever your reason for seeking a helicopter flight, you may have heard about recent helicopter accidents and want to know how to pick a helicopter operator that has a low risk of getting into a crash.
Not all helicopter crashes are avoidable, but some are if the pilot has the proper training and the helicopter is in working order. AFAR Magazine ran a piece discussing helicopter safety and described some ways a person can research helicopter operators to figure out if a company is taking the right steps to prevent possible accidents.
Check company safety standards
Even though the FAA has regulations that dictate aviation safety, some helicopter operators go beyond government standards to promote safety. However, a person should not take it for granted that a helicopter company has its own safety standards. A company website is a good place to look for any statements of the company’s safety rules and procedures.
If a safety statement is not apparent, you could ask a company for a copy which describes their operating procedures and how they seek to prevent hazardous situations. An operator that is not transparent with you or is vague about safety is a possible red flag.
Other questions to ask an operator
You may want to do a small interview with a helicopter company to cover all your bases. Some points to address could include the following:
- The certifications and accreditations of the company
- The length of service of their helicopter
- The safety record of the helicopter
- The last time the company received a safety audit
- The experience level of their helicopter pilots
Going through these issues may uncover any potential problems such as a helicopter that has been in service for too long or a pilot with insufficient experience. Conversely, you may receive reassurance that a helicopter operator understands how to keep passengers as safe as possible in the air.