Navigation Links
Sightseeing helicopter crashes in Hawaii decrease following FAA regulations

An emergency rule intended to reduce the number of deaths and injuries associated with Hawaiian air tours was followed by a 47 percent reduction in sightseeing crashes, according to a new study by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Injury Research and Policy.

However, the proportion of crashes that resulted in lives lost actually increased after the rule change due to an increase in crashes that resulted from poor visibility, which tend to be exceptionally fatal. The report is published in the July issue of Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 71 in 1994 in response to a spate of crashes of helicopter sightseeing tours that year. The regulation established minimum flight altitudes and clearances from terrain, emphasized passenger safety precautions, mandated performance plans prior to each flight, and required flotation equipment or the wearing of life preservers on flights beyond the shoreline.

"Our findings indicate that the 1994 Rule was followed by a reduction of almost half in the crash rate. On the other hand, crashes that occurred as a result of low visibility-often because of rain, fog, or clouds-increased from 5 percent to 32 percent of all air tour helicopter crashes in the 14 years after the new regulation," said senior author Wren L. Haaland, a 2009 graduate of Johns Hopkins University who conducted the study as an undergraduate research assistant with the Bloomberg School's Center for Injury Research and Policy.

"Our data suggest the FAA should reconsider the Rule's clause that established a minimum flying altitude of 1,500 feet, as we know higher altitudes are associated with more cloud cover," said Susan P. Baker, MPH, director of the study's research and professor with the Injury Center. Clouds obscuring mountain peaks and passes are particularly common in Hawaii. The Hawaii Helicopter Operators Association appealed the Rule on the basis that the 1,500-feet above-ground-level minimum flying altitude would lead to crashes due to the prevalence of clouds at or above that altitude. The appeal was rejected by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The researcher team analyzed data collected from the National Transportation Safety Board's Aviation Accident Database, identifying 59 crashes of helicopter air tour flights in Hawaii from 1981 through 2008. Crashes in 1995 to 2008 were compared with those in 1981 to 1994. The greatest decreases occurred in crashes into the ocean, crashes not involving malfunctions, and nonfatal crashes. Aircraft malfunctions were the most common precipitating factor throughout the study period, occurring at similar frequencies pre- and post- regulations. The most common malfunction was loss of power, most often caused by improper maintenance. Forty-six tourists and 9 pilots died in 16 fatal crashes during the 28-year study period.

"The persistence of mechanical problems and malfunctions is noteworthy, since they were related to the majority of crashes and not addressed by the FAA's 1994 Rule," said Dennis F. Shanahan, MD, MPH, a co-author of the study. "This is an oversight, as many of these problems could be prevented through better mechanic training, closer FAA oversight, and increased emphasis from management on proper and thorough maintenance procedures. Helicopter tourism is popular in other areas such as Alaska and the Grand Canyon, and every precaution should be taken to save lives."


Contact: Tim Parsons
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Related medicine news :

1. AIRLIFE Denver Spreads its Wings with Third Helicopter
2. Herley New England Receives Additional $1.3 Million Contract Award from Lockheed Martin for the Multi-Mission Helicopter
3. Sikorsky Aircraft Announces Contract with Boston MedFlight for S-76C++(TM) Helicopter
4. Nolan Law Group Files Lawsuit on Behalf of the Parents of a 14-Month-Old Girl Killed in October 15th 2008 Medical Evacuation Helicopter Crash Near Aurora, Illinois
5. California Shock Trauma Air Rescue (CALSTAR) Leads the Way in Pioneering Helicopter Modification Which is Expected to Greatly Enhance Safety and Save Lives
6. Teen Passengers at Higher Death Risk in Car Crashes
7. Red-light cameras increase crashes, researchers find
8. Severe retinal hemorrhaging is linked to severe motor vehicle crashes
9. Car Crashes, Falls Top List of Accidental Injuries for Kids
10. Obese Kids More Prone to Limb Injuries in Car Crashes
11. Contrary to Earlier Predictions, Older Driver Fatal Crashes Trend Down
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... According to an article ... of Toronto and the University of British Columbia suggested that laws requiring bicyclists to ... article explains that part of the reason for the controversial conclusion is that, while ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... A team of Swiss doctors has ... it. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted the findings on the website. Click here ... the cases of 136 mesothelioma patients who were treated with chemotherapy followed by EPP ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... Lizzie’s ... , The company is offering customers 10% off of their purchase of lice treatment ... treatment at full price. According to a company spokesperson. “Finding lice is a sure ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating community in ... (see Table 1-1 ). More than 3.7 billion people under the age of ... 1 (HSV-1), according to WHO's first global estimates of HSV-1 infection . , "The ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... A simply ... Jones, is an interesting show that delves into an array of issues that are ... that could benefit from open dialogue, this show is changing the subjects consumers focus ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... the addition of the  "2016 Future ... Global Cell Surface Testing Market: Supplier ... to their offering.  --> ... of the  "2016 Future Horizons and ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 ... of the  "2016 Future Horizons and ... Drug Monitoring (TDM) Market: Supplier Shares, ... Opportunities"  report to their offering.  ... the addition of the  "2016 Future ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... of the "Radioimmunoassay Market by Type ... Pharmaceutical Industry, Academics, Clinical Diagnostic Labs), Application ... Forecast to 2020" report to their ... announced the addition of the "Radioimmunoassay ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: