Jump to content


Helicopter AcademyVOLO_VRGeneral468UpperLimit2011General_468x60TigerTugsVRForumGen468
Photo
- - - - -

How Dangerous are Helicopters?

A Journalists Stats

  • Please log in to reply
21 replies to this topic

#1 Whistlerpilot

Whistlerpilot

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 270 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:BC
  • Interests:Skiing climbing mountain biking kayaking flying and having a long term relationship!
  • Company working for:A 5 ship company in a small BC mountain town

Posted 26 January 2013 - 00:54

This debate rages on, but here are some interesting statistics brought up by a journalist. The claim is helicopters have 85 times the fatalies than cars per 100 000 hours. considering there are over 40 000 car fatalies per year in the US this is a bold statement.

http://fullfact.org/...on_deaths-28714

"On the other side of the Atlantic, Slate.com attempted to answer this question after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie argued that his use of taxpayer-funded helicopter flights was justified because they had a better safety record than cars.
Slate journalist Brian Palmer observed that:


Between 2005 and 2009, there was an annual average of 1.44 fatalities (PDF) per 100,000 flying hours in non-military helicopters. Over the same period, there were 13.2 traffic fatalities per 100,000 population in the United States annually. Since the average American spends around 780 hours per year (PDF) in the car, that means the fatality rate per 100,000 hours of driving time is just 0.017. Based on hours alone, helicopters are 85 times more dangerous than driving. [Emphasis added]

This is of course a back-of-the envelope calculation which doesn't compare like with like.
So while we don't have enough comparable data to form firm conclusions about the relative safety of helicopter travel, it does seem that Kate Hoey was mistaken about increases in their use in the capital, at least in recent years."
  • TeoerryNug likes this

When life's path is steep keep your mind even.


#2 JCM5

JCM5

    VR Veteran Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 253 posts

Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:58

I'd say part of the disparity is that you have a much better chance of surviving a car crash than you do surviving a helicopter crash.


Helicopters are dangerous in that simple mistakes and oversights can be fatal. You can put 100 different pilots in the same helicopter, and that helicopter becomes a lot more and/or a lot less dangerous depending on who's making the decisions pertaining to that flight.

#3 Wally

Wally

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,529 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Jefferson, GA
  • Interests:Reading's high on the list.
  • Company working for:none

Posted 26 January 2013 - 09:08

And helicopters operate in much more hazardous situations. Helicopters are used when the equivalent of a "paved, well marked right of way" doesn't exist.

Edited by Wally, 26 January 2013 - 09:09.

Just a pilot (retired, so I have a LOT of time)...


#4 Gomer Pylot

Gomer Pylot

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,190 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Texas

Posted 26 January 2013 - 09:52

Trying to compare cars to helicopters is just silly. Cars don't fly. Cars don't land in unimproved clearings on the top of mountains, or in deserts or jungles. Cars mostly just drive down well-designed streets and highways, from here to there, much more like airliners than helicopters, but even that is a stretch. Not to mention that nobody, and I do mean nobody, knows the actual rates of anything for helicopters. Any data are merely guesses, because there is no requirement for anyone to provide the FAA or any other agency with flight times, or incident/accident information. Part 91 and Part 135 are rather specific on what has to be reported, and don't include much. All flight time data is just a WAG, and could vary greatly either way. It's the same for automobiles - it's possible to check the mileage on the odometer, but how long did that take? Nobody knows. It could have mostly been done on the interstate at 75mph, or in urban traffic jams at near 1mph. No way to tell, other than a WAG.

It's just not possible to compare some things to others, and trying to do so is simply a waste of time.

Edited by Gomer Pylot, 26 January 2013 - 10:24.

  • kodoz and lelebebbel like this
Best Regards,

Gomer

#5 Rotortramp

Rotortramp

    VR Veteran Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 153 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:Hiking

Posted 26 January 2013 - 10:29

Perhaps it would be better to compare the corporate helicopter fatality rate to cars, since they are both used as direct means of travel. Its almost like adding in the fatalities of NASCAR and drag racing when they are using the vehicle for a different purpose. I'm kind of tired so l'm probably thinking of this the wrong way. They left out military helicopter because they operate in dangerous environments. Same can be said for a lot of civilian operators.

#6 adam32

adam32

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,171 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:California
  • Company working for:Just keeping the bills paid!!

Posted 26 January 2013 - 10:49

Just get a work comp quote for a pilot, a mechanic and a fuel truck driver...that will tell you which one they expect to pay out on...lol

Make your rifle, your targets worst nightmare!

 

www.diablocustomrifles.com


#7 Counterrotate

Counterrotate

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 288 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 26 January 2013 - 15:13

Of course helicopters are dangerous. Anyone who says they are not is either in denial or doesn't want to scare customers away. However, as with anything, risks can be mitigated by good maintenance practices, good pilot judgement, and safe flying techniques. Lets not kid ourselves though. Mkay? Motorcycles are dangerous too. They are unforgiving and it is tempting to do stupid things with them. But I've been riding one for decades and never had an accident because I am extremely cautious. Every day before I fly or ride, I think to myself "today could be the day", and I do everything in my power to make sure that doesn't happen. I like what Spike said about "fools rush in, fools rush out." In the hover check tread. This is true about a lot of things, not just flying.
  • 500F likes this

#8 pilot#476398

pilot#476398

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,000 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 26 January 2013 - 15:15

Another "apples and oranges" comparison!

- A car driven alone is safer than a helicopter flown alone.
- A pilot is better trained, and more safety conscious than a driver.
- Helicopters operations are more commercial and military, and therefore more dangerous than what most cars are used for.
- If a helicopter veers off course by a few feet, its no big deal, but if a car on the freeway veers off course by a few feet, it causes an accident!
- If your engine stalls out in a car, just coast to a stop on the side of the road. If a helicopter engine stalls out, you drop from the sky!,...although a pilot is better trained to handle emergencies, as mentioned above.

The list goes on...

#9 Nomad110

Nomad110

    VR Veteran Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 98 posts

Posted 26 January 2013 - 17:20

Comparing helicopters to fixed wing is a far more intelligent conversation...

I've heard that fixed wing have less incidents/accidents then helicopters per unit flight hour but have a higher rate of fatality. Is that true?

#10 Spike

Spike

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,620 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 26 January 2013 - 17:39

The dangerous part is; a reporter and two politicians believing they can have an intelligent conversation about aircraft…. Or cars for that matter….
  • DanceswithCyclic, Trans Lift, 500F and 1 other like this

#11 Lindsey

Lindsey

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VIP Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,021 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Fort Rucker, AL.
  • Interests:Autos.
  • Company working for:U.S. Army Aviation/Civilian CFI

Posted 26 January 2013 - 21:22

Humans are dangerous. Helicopters can just be a little less forgiving.
  • Trans Lift, 500F, JCM5 and 1 other like this

#12 iChris

iChris

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 919 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:California

Posted 27 January 2013 - 20:32

Posted Image


REF: NTSB


10 Most Dangerous Jobs In The U.S.

Edited by iChris, 27 January 2013 - 21:25.

Regards,

Chris

#13 Counterrotate

Counterrotate

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 288 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 27 January 2013 - 21:00

The dangerous part is; a reporter and two politicians believing they can have an intelligent conversation about aircraft…. Or cars for that matter….



Or anything really...
  • Nomad110 likes this

#14 C of G

C of G

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 472 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Floriduh

Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:52

Comparing my personal experience in relation to helicopter vs automobile fatalities, I know more people killed in helicopter accidents than in car accidents. Approximately 8:1.
May the wind behind you always be your own.

#15 500F

500F

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 194 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 January 2013 - 18:32

This debate rages on, but here are some interesting statistics brought up by a journalist. The claim is helicopters have 85 times the fatalies than cars per 100 000 hours. considering there are over 40 000 car fatalies per year in the US this is a bold statement.

http://fullfact.org/...on_deaths-28714

"On the other side of the Atlantic, Slate.com attempted to answer this question after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie argued that his use of taxpayer-funded helicopter flights was justified because they had a better safety record than cars.
Slate journalist Brian Palmer observed that:


Between 2005 and 2009, there was an annual average of 1.44 fatalities (PDF) per 100,000 flying hours in non-military helicopters. Over the same period, there were 13.2 traffic fatalities per 100,000 population in the United States annually. Since the average American spends around 780 hours per year (PDF) in the car, that means the fatality rate per 100,000 hours of driving time is just 0.017. Based on hours alone, helicopters are 85 times more dangerous than driving. [Emphasis added]

This is of course a back-of-the envelope calculation which doesn't compare like with like.
So while we don't have enough comparable data to form firm conclusions about the relative safety of helicopter travel, it does seem that Kate Hoey was mistaken about increases in their use in the capital, at least in recent years."


If that information was accurate and true of all helicopter operations do you believe the leaders of every nation would be transported daily via helicopter?

As others said. Its apples to oranges, and not all of the data is there.

Helicopter safety varies alot based on the operator, and the mission.

You can do anything you want with statistics. the 13.2 traffic fatalities per 100,000 people matches my calculations. The hours spent in cars looks grossly over-inflated. The FMCSA reports 38,588 road fatalities in the US in 2006, and 2,989,807,000,000 total road miles traveled. The FMCSA site publishes a fatality rate of 1.5 fatalities per 100 million(road) miles.
http://www.fmcsa.dot...cs/cmvfacts.htm

Using a time based approach is going to bias the numbers towards cars (because they are slower) than a distance based approach anyway

Using the above stats of 1.44 fatalities per 100,000 flying hours...
To achive the same rate of fatalities (1.5 fatalities per million (air) miles) a helicopter would have to average 1000miles per hour of operation.

Pick an average speed for helicopter operations I'll use 100mph for easy math and it comes out with helicopters 10 times more dangerous than driving, not 85. The methodology isn't perfect but I think the result is more accurate.

Edited by 500F, 28 January 2013 - 19:09.


#16 Whistlerpilot

Whistlerpilot

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 270 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:BC
  • Interests:Skiing climbing mountain biking kayaking flying and having a long term relationship!
  • Company working for:A 5 ship company in a small BC mountain town

Posted 28 January 2013 - 19:48

500F your estimate is pretty close to C of G's anecdotal experience.

When life's path is steep keep your mind even.


#17 pilot#476398

pilot#476398

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,000 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 January 2013 - 20:30

So, what exactly is the purpose of this comparison?

#18 Jerry148

Jerry148

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 05 August 2016 - 03:35

If you follow the correct safety checks when either becoming a helicopter pilot or using a helicopter, then helicopters are actually very safe. These safety checks are written in the source below which involve checking you're fit to fly, checking weather and other important things to think about before flying. 

 


#19 avbug

avbug

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,331 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling

Posted 05 August 2016 - 08:20

Slate journalist Brian Palmer observed that:


Between 2005 and 2009, there was an annual average of 1.44 fatalities (PDF) per 100,000 flying hours in non-military helicopters. Over the same period, there were 13.2 traffic fatalities per 100,000 population in the United States annually. Since the average American spends around 780 hours per year (PDF) in the car, that means the fatality rate per 100,000 hours of driving time is just 0.017. Based on hours alone, helicopters are 85 times more dangerous than driving. [Emphasis added]


 

 

 

The average "american" doesn't spend 780 hours a year in a helicopter, and neither does the average helicopter pilot.  The average driver is expected to be in multiple car collisions in his or her lifetime.  The average pilot is not.



#20 apacheguy

apacheguy

    VR Veteran Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 407 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:TH-67, OH-58A/A+/C, AH-1F, UH-1H, UH-72A, AH-64A/D

Posted 12 August 2016 - 10:31

 

This chart would appear to be the reason why it's so difficult and expensive for pilots to purchase life insurance.  You can have pretty much any other job and USAA will insure you but pilots they want nothing to do with.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users



Helmet FX General 200ColoradoHeliOpsGeneral200MaunaLoaSoftwareVRGeneral200HeliHelmetsAble_VRGeneral200PrecisionVRForumGeneral200DevoreGeneral200Genesys VRForum200_GeneralMidwestHeliAcademy2016NFCVRGeneral200