Home' Heliweb Magazine : Heliweb Magazine February 2016 Contents 32 heliweb magazine
ON NEW SAFETY
Safety Team (USHST) will begin
contributing a monthly column in each
new issue of Heliweb Magazine.
This column will focus on safety
topics including pilot proficiency, risk
management, execution of emergency
procedures, aeronautical decision making
(ADM), human factors, and much more.
Areas of special emphasis will be
delivered to readers with easy to follow
tips and recommendations for mitigating
risk and reducing helicopter accidents.
Please be on the lookout for this upcoming
column as we join forces to reach our
unified goal of improving helicopter safety.
The USHST and the International
Helicopter Safety Team (www.IHST.
org) promote safety to contribute to the
reduction of helicopter accidents the world
over. IHST was founded in 2005 to lead a
joint government and industry cooperative
effort to address factors that were leading to
an unacceptable helicopter accident rate.
play “what if” scenarios before every
instrument flight are able to reclaim
precious seconds for improving their
chance of success should the unusual
happen during flight. Simply put, these
exercises train the mind to respond
positively in less time while also increasing
An excellent way to prepare for the
unexpected is to develop a mindset of
expectation: Before each flight, mentally
tell yourself, “ Today is the day that I’m
going to experience an engine failure
or an unusual circumstance.”
it might sound overly pessimistic, this
mental exercise can reduce the chance
of being caught by surprise. Whether
flying solo or with passengers, pilots
who perform this mental rehearsal can
shave precious seconds off response
rates in reaction to unusual events.
Bottom line: be prepared for those
days when perfect weather conditions
suddenly disappear. Invest in your skills
and understand what your options are
when flying in instrument conditions.
If already instrument rated, maximize
as much flight time under simulated
instrument conditions with a qualified
instructor on a regular basis. If not
already instrument rated, make the
investment. Instrument training enhances
Aeronautical Decision Making and
will vastly improve piloting skills— an
investment well worth the time and money.
Dr. Steve Sparks is the Coordinator
for the US Helicopter Safety Team
(USHST) specializing in flight
training, pilot development, and
Chairs the USHST Human Factors
“Staying Alive” Working Group
which focuses on mitigating helicopter
accidents resulting from human error.
The missed approach procedure
associated with an instrument approach
has caught many helicopter pilots by
surprise. If not properly briefed and
prepared for, the missed approach
procedure can be a highly complex
phase of flight. Since most instrument
approaches end with a successful
landing, many pilots do not adequately
prepare for the possibility of having
to fly the missed approach procedure.
Because missed approach procedures
are executed close to the ground at low
airspeed, pilots can rapidly become task
saturated with little to no room for error.
Pilots who are triggered to fly the missed
approach prior to starting the procedure
will greatly reduce workload and
increase the likelihood of successfully
executing this critical maneuver. A false
sense of security during the approach
and missed approach phases of
flight can lead to disastrous results.
Don’t Be Startled
The question of why one event in the
cockpit stimulates a pilot’s attention over
another causes many people to scratch
their heads. Generally speaking,
humans are able to perform two tasks
concurrently in limited situations, even if
they are skillful at each task separately.
A helicopter pilot may be exceptionally
skilled at programming the Flight
Management System (FMS) and at
maintaining situational awareness,
but while that same pilot is conducting
one of these events, the preciseness
of the second is likely to suffer.
Unfortunately, something has to give.
Research reveals that it can take
as much as seven to eight seconds
for pilots to properly respond to a
startling event in the cockpit. Pilots who
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