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Helicopter Pilots Encountering Fog: An Analysis of 109 Accidents from 1992 to 2016

Department of Psychology, Drew University, 36 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ 07940, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2020, 11(9), 994; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11090994
Received: 11 August 2020 / Revised: 10 September 2020 / Accepted: 15 September 2020 / Published: 17 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weather and Aviation Safety)
Helicopters have the ability to make maneuvers or precautionary off-airport landings to avoid flights into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) such as fog. Flight accidents in which fog was encountered as well as inadvertent and intentional flights into fog were examined to understand their occurrence. A 25-year period in the United States using the National Transportation Safety Board online database was used to collect 109 accident reports of which 73 (67%) were fatal. Pilots flying intentionally into IMC were more likely to be a part of a fatal accident than those who did so inadvertently. Those pilots who were reported as being under pressure when encountering fog conditions were also more likely to be in an accident. The findings confirm a high prevalence and an added danger to intentional flights into IMC. In addition, decision-making under pressure when encountering IMC conditions is now linked to a higher proportion of fatalities, emphasizing that helicopter pilots should be made aware of these specific decision-making circumstances in their operations. View Full-Text
Keywords: general aviation; helicopter; HEMS; instrument flight rules; accident analysis general aviation; helicopter; HEMS; instrument flight rules; accident analysis
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de Voogt, A.; Kalagher, H.; Diamond, A. Helicopter Pilots Encountering Fog: An Analysis of 109 Accidents from 1992 to 2016. Atmosphere 2020, 11, 994.

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