Crashes of sightseeing helicopter tours in Hawaii

Wren L. Haaland, Dennis F. Shanahan, Susan P. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Introduction: Crashes of sightseeing helicopter flights in Hawaii and the resulting tourist deaths prompted the FAA to issue regulations in 1994 specific to air tours in Hawaii. Research was undertaken to examine the effect of the 1994 Rule and to describe the circumstances of such crashes. Method: From National Transportation Safety Board data, 59 crashes of helicopter air tour flights in Hawaii during 1981-2008 were identified; crash investigation reports were read and coded. Crashes in 1995-2008 were compared with those in 1981-1994. Results: The 1994 Rule was followed by a 47% decrease in the crash rate, from 3.4 to 1.8/100,000 flight hours. The number of crashes into the ocean decreased from eight before the Rule to one afterwards. VFR-IMC crashes increased from 5 to 32% of crashes. There were 46 tourists and 9 pilots who died in 16 fatal crashes. Aircraft malfunctions, primarily due to poor maintenance, precipitated 34 (58%) of the crashes and persisted throughout the 28-yr period. Pilot errors were apparent in 23 crashes (39%). Flight from visual to instrument conditions occurred in two cases before the Rule and seven cases after. Terrain unsuitable for landing was cited in 37 crashes (63%). Conclusion: Decreases occurred in the overall number and rate of crashes and in ocean crash landings. The increase in VFR-IMC crashes may be related to the requirement that tour helicopters fly at least 1500 ft above terrain. Attention is still needed to maintenance, pilot training, and restricting flights to operating areas and conditions that enable safe emergency landings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-642
Number of pages6
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Volume80
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2009

Fingerprint

Aircraft
Oceans and Seas
Air
Maintenance
Emergencies
Safety
Research
Pilots

Keywords

  • Air tour
  • FAA
  • Malfunction
  • NTSB
  • Pilot error
  • SFAR 71
  • Tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Crashes of sightseeing helicopter tours in Hawaii. / Haaland, Wren L.; Shanahan, Dennis F.; Baker, Susan P.

In: Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 80, No. 7, 07.2009, p. 637-642.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Haaland, Wren L. ; Shanahan, Dennis F. ; Baker, Susan P. / Crashes of sightseeing helicopter tours in Hawaii. In: Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine. 2009 ; Vol. 80, No. 7. pp. 637-642.
@article{9a101b7aa69f49bab44211f9d9673f66,
title = "Crashes of sightseeing helicopter tours in Hawaii",
abstract = "Introduction: Crashes of sightseeing helicopter flights in Hawaii and the resulting tourist deaths prompted the FAA to issue regulations in 1994 specific to air tours in Hawaii. Research was undertaken to examine the effect of the 1994 Rule and to describe the circumstances of such crashes. Method: From National Transportation Safety Board data, 59 crashes of helicopter air tour flights in Hawaii during 1981-2008 were identified; crash investigation reports were read and coded. Crashes in 1995-2008 were compared with those in 1981-1994. Results: The 1994 Rule was followed by a 47{\%} decrease in the crash rate, from 3.4 to 1.8/100,000 flight hours. The number of crashes into the ocean decreased from eight before the Rule to one afterwards. VFR-IMC crashes increased from 5 to 32{\%} of crashes. There were 46 tourists and 9 pilots who died in 16 fatal crashes. Aircraft malfunctions, primarily due to poor maintenance, precipitated 34 (58{\%}) of the crashes and persisted throughout the 28-yr period. Pilot errors were apparent in 23 crashes (39{\%}). Flight from visual to instrument conditions occurred in two cases before the Rule and seven cases after. Terrain unsuitable for landing was cited in 37 crashes (63{\%}). Conclusion: Decreases occurred in the overall number and rate of crashes and in ocean crash landings. The increase in VFR-IMC crashes may be related to the requirement that tour helicopters fly at least 1500 ft above terrain. Attention is still needed to maintenance, pilot training, and restricting flights to operating areas and conditions that enable safe emergency landings.",
keywords = "Air tour, FAA, Malfunction, NTSB, Pilot error, SFAR 71, Tourism",
author = "Haaland, {Wren L.} and Shanahan, {Dennis F.} and Baker, {Susan P.}",
year = "2009",
month = "7",
doi = "10.3357/ASEM.2444.2009",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "80",
pages = "637--642",
journal = "Aerospace medicine and human performance",
issn = "2375-6314",
publisher = "Aerospace Medical Association",
number = "7",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Crashes of sightseeing helicopter tours in Hawaii

AU - Haaland, Wren L.

AU - Shanahan, Dennis F.

AU - Baker, Susan P.

PY - 2009/7

Y1 - 2009/7

N2 - Introduction: Crashes of sightseeing helicopter flights in Hawaii and the resulting tourist deaths prompted the FAA to issue regulations in 1994 specific to air tours in Hawaii. Research was undertaken to examine the effect of the 1994 Rule and to describe the circumstances of such crashes. Method: From National Transportation Safety Board data, 59 crashes of helicopter air tour flights in Hawaii during 1981-2008 were identified; crash investigation reports were read and coded. Crashes in 1995-2008 were compared with those in 1981-1994. Results: The 1994 Rule was followed by a 47% decrease in the crash rate, from 3.4 to 1.8/100,000 flight hours. The number of crashes into the ocean decreased from eight before the Rule to one afterwards. VFR-IMC crashes increased from 5 to 32% of crashes. There were 46 tourists and 9 pilots who died in 16 fatal crashes. Aircraft malfunctions, primarily due to poor maintenance, precipitated 34 (58%) of the crashes and persisted throughout the 28-yr period. Pilot errors were apparent in 23 crashes (39%). Flight from visual to instrument conditions occurred in two cases before the Rule and seven cases after. Terrain unsuitable for landing was cited in 37 crashes (63%). Conclusion: Decreases occurred in the overall number and rate of crashes and in ocean crash landings. The increase in VFR-IMC crashes may be related to the requirement that tour helicopters fly at least 1500 ft above terrain. Attention is still needed to maintenance, pilot training, and restricting flights to operating areas and conditions that enable safe emergency landings.

AB - Introduction: Crashes of sightseeing helicopter flights in Hawaii and the resulting tourist deaths prompted the FAA to issue regulations in 1994 specific to air tours in Hawaii. Research was undertaken to examine the effect of the 1994 Rule and to describe the circumstances of such crashes. Method: From National Transportation Safety Board data, 59 crashes of helicopter air tour flights in Hawaii during 1981-2008 were identified; crash investigation reports were read and coded. Crashes in 1995-2008 were compared with those in 1981-1994. Results: The 1994 Rule was followed by a 47% decrease in the crash rate, from 3.4 to 1.8/100,000 flight hours. The number of crashes into the ocean decreased from eight before the Rule to one afterwards. VFR-IMC crashes increased from 5 to 32% of crashes. There were 46 tourists and 9 pilots who died in 16 fatal crashes. Aircraft malfunctions, primarily due to poor maintenance, precipitated 34 (58%) of the crashes and persisted throughout the 28-yr period. Pilot errors were apparent in 23 crashes (39%). Flight from visual to instrument conditions occurred in two cases before the Rule and seven cases after. Terrain unsuitable for landing was cited in 37 crashes (63%). Conclusion: Decreases occurred in the overall number and rate of crashes and in ocean crash landings. The increase in VFR-IMC crashes may be related to the requirement that tour helicopters fly at least 1500 ft above terrain. Attention is still needed to maintenance, pilot training, and restricting flights to operating areas and conditions that enable safe emergency landings.

KW - Air tour

KW - FAA

KW - Malfunction

KW - NTSB

KW - Pilot error

KW - SFAR 71

KW - Tourism

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=67651014659&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=67651014659&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3357/ASEM.2444.2009

DO - 10.3357/ASEM.2444.2009

M3 - Article

C2 - 19601506

AN - SCOPUS:67651014659

VL - 80

SP - 637

EP - 642

JO - Aerospace medicine and human performance

JF - Aerospace medicine and human performance

SN - 2375-6314

IS - 7

ER -