FAA Rotorcraft Monthly Accident Briefing - September
Attached is the Rotorcraft Monthly Accident Briefing for September 2023 (last month of FY23).
(Covers Part 27, Part 29, and Restricted Category rotorcraft accidents to U.S. registered aircraft. Does not include gyrocopters or experimental aircraft.)
**Please access the information from this briefing directly anytime at the FAA’s publicly available, Rotorcraft Accident Dashboard.**
Find “Dashboard Navigation” near the top of the default page and click either “Historical Briefing” or “Make Model Breakdown” for access to all 3 pages of visualized and interactive data.
September Totals: 6 accidents, 0 fatal accidents, 0 fatalities
- For third time in the last 5 years and the fifth time in the last 41 FYs, there were not any fatal U.S. rotorcraft accidents in the month of September.
- The 6 total accidents during the month were the lowest for any September for the 41 FYs on record.
FY23 Totals: 105 accidents, 18 fatal accidents, 36 fatalities
- The count and rate metrics for overall accidents and fatal accidents in FY23 showed improvement when measured against both FY22 and the 5 year average.
-There was an increase of one fatality from FY22. When adjusted for flight hours, the fatality rate was the same for both FY22 and FY23. Both the fatality count and rate showed improvement when measured against the 5 year average.
Accidents (includes both fatal & non-fatal accidents):
- The FY23 estimated accident rate was 3.63 per 100K hours. This is the lowest estimated rate since 2017 and tied for the second lowest rate in the past 10 FYs.
- The estimated accident rate for the FY is 21% lower than the same period in FY22 and 12% lower than the 5 year average for the same period.
- In 4 different months of the FY, the number of accidents observed was the lowest of the 41 FYs on record (January, February, June, and September).
- The count of 105 total accidents for the FY is the second lowest for the 41 years on record, trailing only FY20 (97 accidents in a year where peak COVID impact led to reduced flying activity).
- 55% of the accidents occurred in one of the following industry sectors: 1) Instructional/Training (20%), 2) Aerial Application (18%), and 3) Personal/Private (17%).
- The FY23 estimated fatal accident rate was 0.62 per 100K hours (17% lower than the same period in FY22, 20% lower than the 5 year average for the same period).
- While the fatal accident rate was better than any of the previous 5 years, it lagged other recent rates from the most recent 10 years. Specifically, the lower rates occurred during the three year period of 2015-2017 where the rates were 0.58, 0.54, and 0.52 in consecutive years.
- For only the second time in the 41 FYs on record, there were 4 months during the FY with zero fatal accidents (January, February, June, and September).
- June, July, and August each had 4 fatal accidents during the month, together accounting for 12 of the 18 fatal accidents in the FY (67% of total).
- Fatal accidents for the FY were distributed across 9 different industry sectors. Personal/Private and Aerial Application led all industry sectors. Each had 4 fatal accidents, each accounting for 22% of the overall FY total.
- 17% of accidents during the FY had a fatality, similar to each of the two preceding FYs (16%) and the 10 year average from FY13-FY22 (18%).
- Of the 18 fatal accidents, two were U.S. registered a/c but were operating outside of the U.S.
- The FY23 estimated fatality rate was 1.24 per 100K hours (the same as FY22, 19% lower than the 5 year average for the same period).
U.S. Helicopter Safety Team (USHST) Calendar Year Metrics
- Goal: Reduce the 5 year average fatal accident rate to 0.55 per 100K hours by 2025. The USHST uses the 5 year average fatal accident rate from CYs 2014-2018 (0.62 per 100K hours) as their baseline for measurement.
- The CY 2019-2023 5 year average fatal accident rate was 0.73 per 100K hours through September 2023.
Aviation Safety Coordinator (Rotorcraft)
Fleet Safety Section, AIR-723
Operational Safety Branch, Compliance & Airworthiness Division
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