An association and industry white paper was recently published that outlines a strategy to reduce fatal helicopter accidents by facilitating instrument flight rule operations in lieu of visual flight rules when conditions do not support safe flight under VFR. It also details a proposal to facilitate an economically viable IFR certification plan for single-engine helicopters.
The white paper was prepared by the Aircraft Electronics Association; Helicopter Association International; American Helicopter Society International; and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.
According to the report, it is generally accepted that an increase in rotorcraft IFR operations would provide a significant safety improvement … Currently, inadvertent flight into instrument meteorological conditions or controlled flight into terrain while attempting to fly under weather conditions continues to be a major contributor to the accident statistics for rotorcraft – especially single-engine rotorcraft. Certifying single-engine helicopters for IFR with systems that are ergonomic and confidence inspiring will lead to increased use of the IFR system and improved situational awareness during VFR operations. It is reasonable to speculate that as pilots choose to conduct operations IFR instead VFR, fatal IIMC, CFIT and certain accidents attributable to loss of control will be eliminated. Successful and safe completion of missions under IFR will have a snowball effect throughout the industry. It is likely that single-engine operators will begin to mandate operations under IFR when conditions do not support safe VFR operations once a practical means-of-compliance for IFR certification is established.
To read the white paper in its entirety, click here.