Airbus is taking the lead in promoting helicopter operational safety in Southern and Eastern Africa, a region home to operators of more than 300 light and medium Airbus helicopters.
The recently launched campaign, involving an events roadshow, aims to alert customers to operational factors to enhance the global helicopter safety record and reduce the number of helicopter accidents attributable to them.
Seminars and workshops have been held in South Africa, Botswana and Kenya, with additional events planned for the rest of the year.
“Although technologies and tools have emerged and evolved to enhance and improve safety, accident rates still remain high with over 80% caused by operational factors,” said Sanjeeth Sewgolam, Aviation Safety Manager at Airbus Southern Africa.
To date over 120 helicopter operator senior managers, pilots, engineers as well as safety and quality leaders have attended workshops, hosted by Airbus with the co-operation of local civil aviation, accident investigators and airport authorities.
Among topics addressed at each event is the natural tension between an organisation’s safety and commercial cultures and ensuring sufficient safeguards and processes are in place to preserve safety as the priority consideration. Core to this is a continual risk assessment process and the use of modern tools and aids, especially in flight operations and aircraft maintenance, such as Airbus’ Heliscan or the new safety application, SAFLY.
“The events emphasise the crucial role of safety management systems in promoting and inculcating a safety culture across entire organisations. Equally important is collaboration with other role players in the safety network, which leads to heightened safety levels,” said Sewgolam.