Airbus representatives played an active role in the Vertical Aviation Safety Team (VAST) 2022 Global Conference which took place early October 2022 in the USA. Their presence in this event is in line with Airbus Helicopters’ dedication to safety and involvement in VAST. 

At Airbus, we are convinced that collaboration, coordination and sharing are decisive in achieving the highest level of product safety. This is why Airbus Helicopters is actively involved in VAST, the Vertical Aviation Safety Team. Present in Hurst, Texas, to take part in the 2022 Global Conference, our representatives are strongly involved in the various activities of this organisation.  

VAST, which succeeded the International Helicopter Safety Foundation in 2020, aims to improve the safety of flight operations in all segments of the vertical flight industry: helicopters, drones and vertical take-off and landing vehicles. It has a global reach and includes both public and private stakeholders. Team members belong to international regional safety teams, safety authorities, including civil aviation authorities, and other industry stakeholders.

Continuous improvement of the community’s safety culture and operational performance is a major objective of Airbus and its partners in VAST. One of the main tasks is to harmonise, coordinate, and implement global safety information, resources, and programmes to reach stakeholders around the world.

Several initiatives are underway to achieve this. The VAST Safety Promotion team members identify and translate into several languages existing communication supports, such as posters, e-learnings and other documents to maximise the impact on local operators.    

The objective of the Five Star initiative – similar to the automotive industry’s NCAP system – is to rate the level of security offered by the different helicopters, to let customers know more precisely the safety level of the product or service they wish to buy. This rating is expected to be ready in 2023 for single-engine rotorcraft.

Finally, there is the evaluation of technologies. The Technology working group lists the technologies that can address any problems and evaluates them against a range of criteria such as maturity level, price, ability to retrofit. In the end, the objective is to prioritise technologies according to their potential benefits on safety.

Such initiatives will contribute to reducing the likelihood and severity of accidents. By reinforcing cooperation and collaboration, VAST aims to achieve a worldwide vertical flight community with zero fatal accidents.

Maintenance Babcock H145 EMS 2017

Product safety for helicopters