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Monday, May 17, 2010

Global Helicopter Flight Data Monitoring

Aviation professionals with a common interest in helicopter flight safety gathered at the CHC Safety & Quality Summit in Vancouver, Canada in late March 2010.

Driven by a desire to increase helicopter safety by promoting best practice and cooperation in the design, support and operation of Helicopter Flight Data Monitoring (HFDM), a new organization was formed to bring all aspects of the industry together -the Global Helicopter Flight Data Monitoring Steering Group.

Eighty-one people and forty-seven companies, including helicopter manufacturers, operators, oil companies, avionic and software suppliers, comprise the Global HFDM Steering Group, which is dedicated to improving HFDM and making it more accessible to helicopter operators of all sizes.

The Steering Group was officially formed with recognition from EASA, the FAA, UK CAA and Transport Canada, on March 25. This is a major step forward in helicopter safety and the pursuit of zero accidents in this industry.

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 at http://www.HFDM.org, which is expected to be ready in The near future; it will also be linked to the IHST website http://www.IHST.org, which will host information in the interim.

Flight data monitoring programs have been in common use by major commercial airlines for more than 30 years and, although in limited use by some helicopter operators for over 10 years, have only recently become more widely used and available for the whole helicopter community.

FDM is the systematic, pro-active and non-punitive use of flight data from routine operations to improve aviation safety. It enables an operator to compare its standard operating procedures with those actually achieved in everyday flights and, armed with a better knowledge of how their aircraft are being flown, enables them to design more effective training and safety programs for their flight crews.

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