The accident rate for helicopters has traditionally been higher than the accident rate of fixed-wing aircraft, probably due to the helicopter’s unique capabilities to fly and land in more diverse situations than fixed-wing aircraft and pilot attempts to fly the helicopter beyond the limits of his or her abilities or beyond the capabilities of the helicopter. With no significant improvement in helicopter accident rates for the last 20 years, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has joined with various members of the helicopter community to improve the safety of helicopter operations.

According to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) statistics, approximately 80 percent of all aviation accidents are caused by pilot error, the human factor. Many of these accidents are the result of the failure of instructors to incorporate single-pilot resource management (SRM) and risk management into flight training instruction of aeronautical decision-making (ADM).

SRM is defined as the art of managing all the resources (both on board the aircraft and from outside sources) available to a pilot prior to and during flight to ensure a successful flight. When properly applied, SRM is a key component of ADM. Additional discussion includes integral topics such as, the concepts of risk management, workload or task management, situational awareness, controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) awareness, and automation management.

ADM is all about learning how to gather information, analyze it, and make decisions. It helps the pilot accurately assess and manage risk and make accurate and timely decisions. Although the flight is coordinated by a single person, the use of available resources, such as air traffic control (ATC) and flight service stations (FSS)/automated flight service stations (AFSS), replicates the principles of CRM.