The Top 3 Causes of Hawaii Tour Helicopter Accidents
Volcanoes, beautiful mountains, breathtaking coastlines, and dozens of waterfalls make helicopter tours a popular activity for tourists in Hawaii. While tour helicopters are generally safe, there are accidents every year that cause serious injury, and even death. Meteorologists believe that the winds and steep cliffs can cause weather conditions that are simply unsafe for small aircraft. However, weather is not the only cause of tour helicopter accidents in Hawaii; pilot error and mechanical failure are also among the top three causes.
The National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) has cited pilot error as the cause of several Hawaii tour helicopter accidents in recent years. Pilot error includes poor decision-making, spatial disorientation, and most commonly, failure to maintain an adequate altitude.
Mechanical failure has been named as one of the top three causes of tour helicopter accidents in Hawaii. This failure is typically a loss of power caused by improper maintenance, but can also be due to manufacturer defects, as was the case in a 2007 helicopter crash into a YMCA campground in Kauai.
Low visibility caused by clouds and fog, combined with the mountains and steep cliffs of Hawaii, has caused more than one tour helicopter to crash into the ocean or the mountains.
A 1994 Federal Aviation Administration regulation, which established minimum flight altitudes and clearances from terrain and requires performance plans before each flight, was followed by a decrease in helicopter tour accidents of almost fifty percent (50%). However, crashes resulting from low visibility due to poor weather conductions, increased from five percent (5%) to thirty-two percent (32 %) of all air tour helicopter crashes, according to study conducted by the Bloomberg School's Center for Injury Research and Policy.
If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a Hawaii tour helicopter accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney with experience in handling aviation accidents.
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