If you've recently purchased a helicopter for your business to make heavy deliveries or provide transportation for employees, you need to protect your investment. Not only does this mean protecting it financially, but it also means keeping everyone safe. Check out these four tips for helicopter safety with your employees.
Get External Load Training
Of course, you should only let a trained helicopter pilot fly your company's helicopter, but additional training may also be necessary. One of the benefits of owning a helicopter is using it to haul heavy items. This is usually done with a long line, which you've likely seen used on TV or in movies to air-lift someone from a remote location. While you may not need special training to haul a small trailer with your truck, hauling an item with a helicopter is much more dangerous. You need external load training, which teaches:
- The different types of load-lifting equipment, such as long lines
- An understanding of how to safety haul external loads
- How to spot potential dangers associated with an external load
- How to use long lines
External load hauling using long lines is usually not covered in basic helicopter training, so make sure your pilot has the training before moving any external loads. To learn more about long lines, contact a company like Arctic Wire Rope & Supply.
Ensure Everyone Listens to the Pilot
Even if you are the boss, the pilot is boss when it comes to the helicopter, so everyone must listen and wait for directions. Before getting on the helicopter, the pilot may go over some rules and policies that you must follow to ensure everyone stays safe. You'll also need to watch the pilot for instructions on when to enter, leave, or approach the helicopter. Make sure you only approach the helicopter from the front so the pilot can see you. The pilot cannot see behind the helicopter. Once inside the helicopter, keep your seatbelt buckled until you are told it is okay to unbuckle by the pilot.
Always Plan for IMC
IMC stands for inadvertent instrument meteorological conditions, which includes weather conditions such as thick clouds. Basically, these are meteorological conditions that affect the pilot's view, ability to see the horizon, and visual contact with the ground. Ideally, you simply want to avoid any IMC, but that isn't always possible, so your pilot should always plan for IMC. One of the best ways to do this is ensure your pilot has synthetic training. Synthetic training teaches pilots how to fly using only ground control and the helicopter's instruments. This allows them to better navigate in real IMC conditions, keeping you, your employees, your cargo, and your equipment safe.
Get Adequate Helicopter Insurance
Your general liability insurance may offer some protection. However, helicopters are expensive, so it may be best to get additional helicopter insurance. The exact amount you need depends on many factors, including the cost of the helicopter and the danger associated with why you are using the helicopter. Typically, helicopter insurance covers liability, passenger liability, and hull insurance. Liability and passenger coverage protect people, items, and the helicopter in the event of an accident. Hull insurance protects the helicopter while it is on the ground. Depending on the equipment you use with your helicopter, you may also need equipment coverage. Last, if you are using your helicopter to haul something with your long lines, you may need cargo insurance.
Helicopters are extremely beneficial, especially for industries that may need to deliver large items quickly or to offshore structures. Of course, not taking the right safety precautions can turn that helicopter into something dangerous. These four tips, however, will help keep you, your employees, and your pilot safe. If you are ready, consider getting a pilot with external load and IMC training today.