Helicopter Safety

Helicopter Safety

Safety vision

Our commitment to the safety of our products and our customers is reflected across all our activities, and is supported by investments in state-of-the-art training facilities for pilots and maintenance personnel; the incorporation of cutting-edge technologies throughout our helicopter product line; and the active involvement of Airbus Helicopters, Inc. specialists in the work of industry safety organizations, teams and steering groups.

Major safety initiatives at Airbus Helicopters, Inc. include the creation of a highly-capable flight simulator center and a well-equipped maintenance training facility at our Grand Prairie, Texas headquarters, and the pioneering application of helicopter flight data monitoring through such systems as the Appareo Vision 1000.

Airbus Helicopters, Inc.’s safety outreach also is backed by the extensive resources of our Airbus Helicopters parent company, which is a world leader in the helicopter industry.  In addition, Airbus Helicopters is part of the Airbus Group, which provides direct access to the airframe, flight dynamics, simulation and computing capabilities of its business units. 

H175 Snow Test 2016

Safety documents

Airbus Helicopters Inc. makes available key information for improving helicopter safety throughout the industry. This covers:

International Helicopters Safety Team (IHST) Resources

Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) Guides

Safety/Training Videos

"That Others May Live" is a case study and pilot’s account of an actual inadvertent IMC encounter that occurred at night in a VFR-equipped AS350 helicopter.

"Appareo Vision 1000 Overview" provides an overview of the flight data monitoring system installed as standard equipment in several light Airbus Helicopters models.  The video explains how the system captures image, audio, and inertial data to support a proactive flight data monitoring program, as well as several other inherent benefits.

"Simulated Failure Procedure FFS AS350 B3/H125 - Engine Fire" 
The objective of this video is to demonstrate the "In-flight ENG Fire" procedure application on a single engine helicopter.

"Simulated Failure Procedure FFS AS350 B3/H125 - Hydraulic Failure" 
The objective of this video is to demonstrate the "In-flight Hydraulic Failure" procedure application on a single engine helicopter.

"Simulated Failure Procedure FFS AS350 B3/H125 - Tail Rotor Control Failure"
The objective of this video is to demonstrate the "In-flight Tail Rotor Control Failure" procedure application on a single engine helicopter

"Preflight Safety Inspection on AS350 B3e/H125"

The video outlines the pilot pre-flight safety inspection for H125 in an interactive presentation. 

Click Here to View

Safety by SMS

With support for industry-wide initiatives like IHST, Airbus works with its customers to introduce safety management systems (SMS) as part of its commitment to improving global flight safety and decreasing accidents. An SMS is an important tool for supporting safe helicopter operations through a reactive, proactive and predicative organisational approach to safety risks. One of its aims is to actively promote a safety culture – employing safety-driven decision making and risk management.

Airbus has deployed an aviation SMS because of the company’s strong belief that SMSs contribute greatly to improving helicopter safety. Likewise, it has contributed to several international working groups aimed at raising the standards of aviation safety management systems.

Airbus works with its customers to introduce safety management systems within their organisations as part of its commitment to improving global flight safety and decreasing accidents.

The company provides information on the importance of hazard identification and risk management to reduce risk levels on-the-ground and in-flight, and also establishes a method to define specific daily operational hazards, identify the potential consequences of these hazards, and propose corrective and protective measures to prevent or mitigate such hazards.

For more on Airbus assistance in introducing an aviation safety management system, see the Information Notice IN2255-I-00 (.pdf format) and visit Airbus International Services.

Safety by training

As part of its commitment to improving aviation safety, Airbus provides realistic, mission-focused training for its complete product line, which prepares flight personnel and maintenance crews for real-world situations. Quality training is directly linked to pilots and flight crews’ proficiency, as well as their ability to safely operate in a full range of conditions.

To ensure customers have access to world-class training, Airbus continues to make significant investments in full-motion simulators, procedural training devices, computer-aided training and e-learning systems.

With an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) data package, Airbus can ensure that the latest rotorcraft developments and improvements are reflected in its simulator network. In addition, the implementation of an extended field of view (in the full-flight simulator (FFS), along with the integration of real rotorcraft data tested by Airbus test pilots guarantee a real-to-life full flight simulation.

In parallel, Airbus’ helicopter division focuses on expanding the catalogue of services it offers – particularly for recurrent and mission training – with on-site flight operations support deployed worldwide to increase safety. This provides a comprehensive suite of services, including customer help desks and flight operations support and analysis – all tailored for individual operator needs.




Deploying training capabilities worldwide

In order to remain close to its customers and provide cost-effective solutions for fleets to remain operationally available, Airbus – with its customer centres and affiliates – operates a network of 23 training centres and 26 full-flight simulators in all regions of the world, including Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, and South America.

To learn more, visit Airbus Helicopters' interactive global network map.

For additional information, visit our Training section

Safety by design

The technological leadership of Airbus directly supports the safe operation of the company’s rotorcraft in missions around the world.

From cutting-edge aircraft design to state-of-the-art systems and displays, Airbus has developed a reputation for constant innovation that ensures the latest advances in safety are incorporated on its rotary-wing aircraft. A full range of technological improvements to increased safety include:

Aircraft design

Fenestron® shrouded tail rotor

Developed by Airbus in the 1960s, the Fenestron® shrouded tail rotor introduced a new level of helicopter safety on the ground and in the air. It is used on the H120, H130, H135, H145, AS365 and H155 helicopters. 

Main rotor hubs

Airbus Starflex and Spheriflex bearingless main rotor hubs ensure very fast response to pitch changes, while also offering excellent manoeuvrability and stability. Used across Airbus’ rotorcraft product line, they are practically maintenance-free and have a fail-safe design through the application of composite materials.

Crashworthy seats

Crashworthy seats on Airbus helicopters are designed to absorb a portion of the crash energy that would otherwise be transmitted to the occupant. They are equipped with a four-point safety belt system, and the harness restraint system incorporates an automatic inertial reel and a device for manual locking of the shoulder belts.

Systems and displays

Helionix Instrument Panel INAER H145 EMS


The Helionix® system is an advanced avionics suite that offers unrivalled pilot assistance in an intuitive human-machine interface, improving overall safety through reduced pilot workload and unique flight envelope protection.

Featuring high levels of redundancy with four multifunction displays, Helionix offers an innovative alerting system, extensive self-monitoring functions and on-demand vehicle monitoring display, as well as Airbus’ dual-duplex 4-axis Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS). For enhanced situational awareness, Helionix integrates features such as digital maps, Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System (HTAWS), synthetic vision systems and more.

Airbus’ state-of-the-art Helionix system is standard on the next-generation medium-twin H175, the multi-role twin-engine H135 and the lightweight twin H145


Vehicle and engine multifunction display

The Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display (VEMD) is an Airbus development for the management and control of the primary aircraft and engine parameters. It reduces pilot workload and fosters a ‘heads-up’ approach to flying, giving the pilot more time to focus on the external environment thanks to a quick and easy scan, excellent visibility and optimised ergonomics.

The VEMD is integrated on Airbus helicopter models AS350, H120, H130, AS355, H135, H145, H155 and H225 helicopters.

Modular Aircraft Recording Monitoring System

The Modular Aircraft Recording Monitoring System (M'ARMS) is an integrated maintenance assistance system based on data recording and proactive monitoring. It is the HUMS (Health Usage Monitoring System) for the H155 and H225 helicopters, and also equips the H135, H145 and AS365 N3. Complementary functions are its use for cockpit voice and flight data recording.

M'ARMS improves safety margins through reduced maintenance and operational errors, greater pilot awareness of flight limitations, and the effective early detection of mechanical failures.

Vision 1000 flight data monitoring system

The Vision 1000 device collects inertial and positioning data, ambient acoustic data and cockpit imagery, which are stored on a crash-hardened memory module, as well as a removable secure digital card. This information is processed internally for use in Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) and flight training.

Vision 1000 also is critical in supporting accident investigations – helping Airbus to construct its innovative Enhanced Virtual Environment (EVE) that provides investigators with a virtual pilots-eye view of what happened.

Crash Resistant Fuel Systems

Crash Resistant Fuel Systems (CRFS) incorporate § 27.952-compliant design features that increase the level of safety in the event of a survivable crash by either decreasing the likelihood or delaying the onset of post-crash fire. These features minimize crash-induced fuel leaks and their contact with potential fuel ignition sources both during and after the crash, and increase the time occupants have available to egress before a post-crash fire could become critical.

Airbus Helicopters, Inc. (AHI) is proud to deliver modern, crash-resistant fuel systems (CRFS) as a standard feature on all models it currently provides to the U.S. market. However, we recognize that a large percentage of the fleet, which is comprised of legacy AS350 variants (AS350B, B1, D, BA, B2, and B3) and the EC130 B4, was delivered before the development of modern, crash-resistant fuel systems. To continuously improve the safety of the Airbus Helicopters fleet and the safety of our customers, AHI is pleased to offer the following CRFS retrofit solutions:

Model CRFS Retrofit Solution
AS350 B, B1, D, BA, B2, B3


Standard Aero (formerly Vector Aerospace) FAA STC SR02492AK

AS350 B3 Airbus Helicopters Service Bulletin
AS350B3e (H125)

Airbus Helicopters Service Bulletin 28-00-28 (FAA STC SR03931NY) *

Standard Aero (formerly Vector Aerospace) FAA STC SR02492AK 

EC130 B4

Airbus Helicopters Service Bulletin

Standard Aero (formerly Vector Aerospace) FAA STC SR02492AK

EC130T2 (H130)

N/A - All aircraft equipped with CRFS as standard equipment

CRFS Overview

To learn more about Airbus Helicopters Crash Resistant Fuel Systems CLICK HERE

CRFS Incentives - NEW!

New exciting CRFS incentives are available for 2021!

Learn more HERE

Safety Information Notice No.3281-S-28

For more information about crash-resistant fuel systems or § 27.952, please contact Jason Spade at jason.spade@airbus.com or 469-615-1301.

Energy attenuating seats
Energy attenuating seats on Airbus Helicopters rotorcraft are designed to stroke and/or plastically deform upon severe impact, absorbing all or a portion of the crash energy transmitted to the seat. They are equipped with a 4-point safety belt system, and the harness restraint system incorporates an automatic inertial reel and a device for manual locking of the shoulder belts.

Read more on maintenance at Airbus Helicopters

Safety by maintenance

Proper practices

Proper maintenance practices play a crucial role in supporting helicopter safety. Airbus has decades of maintenance expertise and is well equipped to address the full spectrum of operator maintenance needs, from providing the best maintenance tools to promoting adherence to approved maintenance procedures and schedules.

Airbus Customer Service teams are the customer’s primary entry point to maintenance activities and available services. The three main maintenance pillars related to safety are maintenance procedures, maintenance documentation and maintenance training.


Maintenance procedures

Airbus works closely with customers to support their maintenance teams, whether ensuring adherence to existing maintenance procedures and inspection schedules, applying Service Bulletins and Airworthiness Directives, or developing new services that simplify and optimise customers’ maintenance organisations.

The company also promotes the proper use of maintenance technologies that aid operational safety. For example, the Health & Usage Monitoring Systems (HUMS) provide invaluable helicopter information that helps maintenance teams make the right decisions to keep an aircraft airworthy. Guidance on how to use and interpret HUMS data is one of the key supports that Airbus provides to its customers.

Maintenance documentation

Airbus’ online technical publications service – e-TechPub, available via the Keycopter customer portal – provides operators with complete, accurate and up-to-date documentation to support safe operations and maintenance of their helicopters.

e-TechPub subscribers receive notifications whenever a new publication is added or updated – including Service Bulletins, Airworthiness Directives, and Safety Information Notices. In this way, customers have at their fingertips real time-access to the latest technical information that could impact the safe operation of their aircraft.

Read more on E-Techpub and Keycopter

Maintenance training

Airbus offers a wide variety of classroom and hands-on courses designed to teach aircraft maintenance engineers how to maintain their helicopters in accordance with the aircraft maintenance manuals and regulations.

The courses cater to all levels, from new technicians in need of type rating training to more experienced mechanics in need of periodic refreshers courses, known as recurrent training.

The company has hardware and systems available for maintenance training at its 23 training sites around the world. Maintenance training for new products – such as the H175 and the H145 – is an indispensable part of an aircraft’s support package.

Read more on maintenance training

Safety by cooperation

Airbus is a responsible member of the international helicopter community, sharing its values with the industry and actively contributing to key rotorcraft safety goals. Supporting the safety initiatives of leading organisations, institutes, steering groups and governmental agencies around the world is a key company priority.

Airbus works closely with the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) – and its European component – which brings together government and industry leaders to reduce civil rotorcraft accidents. Formed in 2006, IHST aims to dramatically reduce the international civil helicopter accident rate.

Further reinforcing the company’s cooperation in industry-wide safety initiatives, Airbus has issued a Flight Crew Operating Manual (FCOM) for H225 aircraft that are utilised for oil and gas missions, marking the first such source document created in the rotorcraft sector.

Airbus takes a proactive approach in listening to customers’ requirements in order to meet and surpass their expectations. The company also works with its customers to support the safe operation of their Airbus rotorcraft. This includes regularly hosting and participating in symposiums and forums, distributing safety materials to help customers manage operational risks and supporting operators’ application of helicopter flight data management (HFDM) systems.

In addition, the company leverages the expertise and know-how of its supplier base to support safety and quality, engaging its supply chain through a collaborative approach and shared view of customer expectations.




International Helicopter Safety Team

An industry-wide effort to improve rotorcraft safety is headed by the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST), which was formed in 2005.

As the world’s no. 1 helicopter manufacturer, Airbus Helicopters takes a leadership role in this important safety initiative. As part of this commitment, the company is a major sponsor of the organization’s annual safety symposium which is open to all aviation safety professionals within the helicopter community

Aiming to realize an international civil helicopter community with zero accidents, the IHST works with global partners – such as Airbus Helicopters – and regional safety teams to develop strategies and harmonize safety efforts in key areas, including:

  • Educating target audiences on helicopter safety and accident causes;
  • Updating the progress toward IHST goals;
  • Conveying information about global partnership efforts within IHST;
  • And, raising awareness on IHST tools that can improve helicopter safety.

Nearly 40 countries support the IHST’s efforts, with safety teams established in Europe, the United States, Canada, Brazil, India, Japan and the Middle East-North Africa region.

Visit the International Helicopter Safety Team’s official website for more information

Outreach to customers

Airbus Helicopters maintains a close relationship with customers to improve rotorcraft safety.

The company – and its worldwide network of customer centers and affiliates – regularly hosts symposiums and forums for its operators, allowing them to get the latest safety and technical updates, as well as provide feedback on key issues. Examples include the annual national and regional customer service symposiums hosted by company’s Airbus Helicopters, Inc. U.S. affiliate, as well as an oil and gas forum for Asian operators, among many other initiatives around the world which cover topics including safety and training.

Airbus Helicopters also reaches out to its customers through events that help operators establish a top-notch safety culture – such as the CHC Quality & Safety Summit, which brings together leading aviation, oil and gas, insurance and regulatory experts to promote aviation safety

As a leading helicopter manufacturer, Airbus Helicopters is committed to fostering a culture of safety within the company, and sharing it with the industry. Safe operation of its in-service rotorcraft is supported by the company’s outreach – which includes working with operators on such key topics as safety management systems, risk management, helicopter flight data management (HFDM) systems, comprehensive analysis of training systems, and more.

Supply chain

Airbus Helicopters works with its supply chain partners to leverage the strengths of this global network through a collaborative approach and shared view on safety and customer expectations.

This ensures that the company’s commitment to safety is aligned throughout the entire aircraft manufacturing process, to deliver quality aircraft that meet – and exceed – the requirements of a global operator base.


American Helicopter Society

Our involvement in the American Helicopter Society (AHS) Technical Safety Committee represents Airbus Helicopters, Inc.’s efforts to improve rotorcraft safety through engineering excellence and innovation.

General Aviation Manufacturers Association

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) represents the world’s leading manufacturers of general aviation aircraft, engines, avionics, and components. GAMA has been actively pursuing various programs and initiatives that continue to improve the safety of general aviation, which is why Airbus Helicopters, Inc.’s Aviation Safety team participates and supports GAMA functions such as the Safety and Accident Investigation Committee and the General Aviation Air Safety Investigator's (GA-ASI) Advanced Technical Workshop. This annual workshop brings together aviation accident investigators from around the world to improve the investigation practices for aviation accidents in order to better identify accident root causes and mitigate future accidents.

Global Helicopter Flight Data Monitoring

Airbus Helicopters, Inc. partners with the Global Helicopter Flight Data Monitoring Steering Group’s initiative for safety through leadership focus on issues concerning the manufacture, provision, support and operation of helicopter flight data monitoring systems, with a just culture environment across the global helicopter community. 

National Transportation Safety Board Training Center

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Training Center is the training facility for the NTSB, an independent federal agency that investigates all civil aviation accidents in the United States. Airbus Helicopters, Inc. supports the NTSB Training Center by participating as adjunct instructor staff for the Rotorcraft Accident Investigation Course. 

Transportation Safety Institute

The Transportation Safety Institute (TSI) is an agency whose parent organization is the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) within the U.S. Department of Transportation. Airbus Helicopters, Inc. supports TSI’s Aviation Division by participating as adjunct instructor staff for the Rotorcraft Accident Investigation Course.

Safety Event

Changing aviation culture with Safety Roadshows

Technologies and tools have evolved to improve aviation safety, but accident rates still remain high. Airbus has launched Safety Roadshows to address and reduce the number of accidents due to operational factors, the main cause behind most rotorcraft accidents. Watch the video to learn more.

Safety Roadshow


Accident Investigation

Airbus Helicopters, Inc.’s Accident Investigation Team has an extensive history of successfully assisting U.S. and international aviation authorities in conducting on-site investigations and technical examinations of aircraft accidents and serious incidents involving Airbus Helicopters products.

Our investigators participate in National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigations as technical advisors to the respective foreign accredited representative agencies per the guidelines set forth by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13. They coordinate with the parent company, Airbus Helicopters, as Type Certificate Holder throughout all phases of investigations to ensure fleet safety and continued airworthiness.

The Accident Investigation Team specializes in collecting, examining and evaluating data and information to assist Airbus Helicopters, Inc., Airbus Helicopters, the aviation authorities and operators to improve safety and avoid future accidents. Team members’ investigative capabilities include – but are not limited to – wreckage reconstruction, flight control system analysis, witness interview and analysis, weather information analysis, review of flight and maintenance training records, aircraft limitations and aircraft maintenance history.

Airbus Helicopters, Inc. investigates accidents and incidents for the following rotary-wing aircraft types:

  • Airbus Helicopters France Type Certificate:
    SA315, SA313/318, SA316/319, SA330 SA341/342
    AS350/H125, AS355, AS365, AS332, HH-65 (U.S. Coast Guard)
    EC120, EC130 (AS350B4), EC155, EC175, EC225/H225
  • Airbus Helicopters Deutschland Type Certificate:
    BO105, BO105LS, BK117,
    EC135/H135, EC145/H145 (BK117 C2 and BK117 D2), UH-72 (U.S. Army) 

Key Contacts

Manny Figlia

Director, Aviation Safety Mobile (24/7 accident notification)

Seth Buttner

Manager, Accident Investigation Mobile (24/7 accident notification)

Glenn Christiansen

Officer, Aviation Safety

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