As a follow up to the first successful helicopter safety day, the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) hosted its second helicopter safety day on 30 September 2011. This year the theme was: ‘Accident investigations, consequences and knowledge exchange’.

The European Helicopter Safety Team’s (EHEST) objective is to achieve 80 percent fewer helicopter accidents by the year 2016, as compared to 2006 levels.

NLR is also engaged in achieving this objective. For this reason too, NLR organises helicopter safety days. Some 75 visitors attended the recent event in order to exchange knowledge and experiences and therefore collectively improve helicopter safety levels. A broad cross-section of people who are professionally or privately involved with helicopters attended, including pilots, instructors, owners, leasers, maintenance personnel, regulators,  ‘operations & safety’ managers and (accident) investigators. A good sign, because cooperation is essential for real progress in helicopter safety!

During the course of the day, presentations were given by a range of experts, such as Gijsbert Vogelaar (Dutch Safety Board), who explained the role accident investigation boards play in investigating the causes of accidents. Tjeerd Tiedemann and Miriam Prins (Dutch National Police Agency) explained the punitive aspects of accident investigations. Michael Zwartelé (Heli Holland) spoke about accident investigations from an operator’s perspective. René Zethof (Inspectorate for Transport, Public Works and Water Management – IVW) gave a lecture about the ECCAIRS database, in which the IVW records official incidents and accidents. This database can also be used to exchange available information, which was something that was specifically requested during the previous helicopter safety day. The day concluded with a lively panel discussion.

For the past five years, NLR, as participant in EHEST, has endeavoured to map the causes of helicopter (un)safety. The point has now been reached however to devise and implement regulations, such as technical solutions that make flying safer.

More information

PDF-document: Flight data monitoring toolkit
PDF-document: Helicopter Maintenance
PDF-document: Safety Management System