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Four Safety Tips for Helicopter pilots

Updated: May 23, 2023

Flying a helicopter safely requires a great deal of mental aptitude and physical skill. With so many factors influencing the outcome of a flight, helicopter pilots must focus their attention and come prepared.

Here are some safety tips to help you become a safer pilot.

1. Use a pre departure check list and do your checks!

All pilots should use a checklist to ensure that they and their helicopters are ready to operate properly and safely.

It’s easy to get complacent and take shortcuts during the preflight inspection or to completely skip it. Don’t get lazy! Every aircraft should have an associated preflight inspection checklist. Use it.

The checklist should include but not be limited to the following👇

✔️Complete weather information.

✔️Fuel information.

✔️Helicopter equipment.

✔️Helicopter performance charts.

✔️List of required documents for the operation.

✔️Maintenance records.

2. Don’t React ! Respond.

In flying things can often go wrong. It is what you do and how you respond when they go wrong that matters.

A good pilot should recognize the changes, effectively analyze it, and ultimately reach a decision that keeps you and your aircraft safe.

A good pilot responds to these changes, they don’t react to them.

Reacting to a situation without first thinking about it could be fatal. The best is to find a systematic approach that allows you to think through anything thrown at you before deciding on how to respond.

Use your checklists! Think. Respond. Stay safe!

3. Don’t take risks with bad weather.

As a trained pilot you should know to never fly into bad weather.

Avoid fog and storms. Always check the weather before you take off and make adjustments if you encounter bad weather en route.

This is all common sense, or so you would think. Every year there are scores of helicopter accidents (often fatal) caused by pilots who took risks in bad weather.

Pressing on into a storm is never a good idea.

Be prepared. Make adjustments. Respond, don’t React. Be safe!

4. Don’t fly lower than 1000 feet.

It is highly recommended that you fly no lower than 1,000 feet above ground level whenever possible.

This is to avoid power lines, wires, trees, mountains, buildings and other obstacles.

It is also so that in case of an emergency landing that you have enough time and altitude to make a safe landing.

Even the most experienced helicopter pilot needs to understand the risks and be vigilant at all times.

Stay safe!

Remembering these simple four safety tips can essentially save your life or the life of your passengers/crew.


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