Reposted from: Fly Safe Campaign - National Agricultural Aviation Research and Education Foundation
Five of the nine ag aviation accidents that the NTSB has reported so far in 2019 have involved helicopters. This puts helicopters at 55 percent of ag aviation accidents. According to the 2019 NAAA Operators Survey, helicopters represent sixteen percent of the ag aviation fleet in the U.S. The FAA Rotorcraft Standards Branch indicates that the aerial application industry currently has the third highest accident rate for all helicopter industries.
The NTSB is still investigating all of these accidents, so the exact causes have yet to be verified. Based on what is known so far though, several of the accidents, both fixed wing and helicopters, have involved very experienced pilots. Inexperience can also lead to an accident. Don’t let the capabilities of the helicopter platform lure you into doing something you’re not capable of doing.
It doesn’t matter what you fly or how long you’ve been flying. Distraction and complacency can be dangerous. Just because you have done something multiple times already that day doesn’t mean you won’t forget a critical step the next time. And a single step, such as failing to detach a load hose, can result in an accident. Very familiar tasks that don’t require much conscious attention are very vulnerable to lapses if your attention is diverted even for a second. No matter what your experience level, use checklists and standard procedures to ensure that all steps and tasks are completed safely.