Helicopter Safety

Tony Kim, Journalist

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Ever since the death of NBA-star Kobe Bryant, people have been writing, typing, and conjuring up all kinds of articles about helicopter safety. But Bryant isn’t the only person that has met their demise by the helicopter crash, marketwatch.com states that “Between 1990 and 2019, there were 5,089 accidents involving helicopters in the United States. Of those, 907 involved fatalities. In the last decade, more than 380 people died in helicopter accidents.” Over the past 30 years, people have ignored the danger of helicopter and General Aviation (non-commercial) flights, and the deaths that these bring, but only with the death of a star do they notice. How many families had to suffer their losses, before Kobe Bryant’s did?

 

According to the New York Times, Bryant’s Model S-76B Luxury Helicopter lacked two things; 1. A Black Box, and 2. TAWS. The New York Times explains that “The helicopter was not equipped with either a flight data recorder or a cockpit voice recorder, the ‘black boxes’ that investigators seek after a crash, … [and also] lacked a type of safety device that helps pilots avoid crashes when visibility is poor, known as Terrain Awareness and Warning System, or TAWS,” The helicopter lacked proper safety equipment that most likely would have avoided the crash in the first place. To prevent another crash, – and another family mourning over their loss, perhaps this serves as proof that General Aviation laws and requirements should be made stricter.

 

In the heat and toils of battle is the V-22 Osprey, developed by Bell Helicopter to transport troops in and out of combat, with a distinctive tilt-wing function, allowing it to both take off vertically and transition into a horizontal position. However, this same tilt-wing function is also where the V-22 Osprey lacks in, crashing four times in non-combat operations, causing the fatalities of 30 Marines. Despite being in use by the United States Marine Corps, the V-22 is labeled as expensive, ineffective, and unsafe at fulfilling its roles and serving our armed forces.

 

Information Collected

Helicopter crash probability reaches 82% per every 100,000 flight hours. General Aviation – Meaning in private transportation via aircraft General Aviation is reported to cause 94 percent of all aircraft incidents, and are also 272 times more likely to perish in a crash than a commercial airline.

Sources:

https://fortune.com/2017/08/05/v22-osprey-crash-australia/

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/31/us/kobe-death.html

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/helicopter-crashes-like-the-one-that-claimed-kobe-bryant-are-becoming-less-common-but-that-could-change-2020-01-28