U.S. helicopter accidents have declined steadily for more than 30 years, largely because of technological advancements and improvements throughout the industry — in manufacturing and design, materials and components, training and pilot skills, and maintenance, the U.S. Helicopter Safety Team (USHST) says.
The average number of accidents per year has declined by 40 percent since the late 1980s, and average fatal accidents per year have been cut nearly in half, USHST said in a statement issued Tuesday.
Data for 1985 through 1994 show an average of 198 accidents and 35 fatal accidents per year. From 1995 through 2004, there were an average of 176 accidents and 30 fatal accidents per year, and from 2005 through 2014, an average of 152 accidents and 25 fatal accidents per year.
From 2015 through 2017, accidents averaged 118 per year, with 18 fatal accidents per year.
“Some peaks and valleys in the data have occurred during the three decades, including lower than expected accidents in 1988 and 1996 and a higher than expected number of accidents in 1990, 1994 and 2013,” USHST said.