In Rotor & Wing’s recent Safety Issue, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman is interviewed by R&W contributor Brian F. Finnegan regarding helicopter safety in the United States.
In the article, Hersman speaks about her “raising the bar” philosophy for safety and gives the example of Bell Helicopter and Eurocopter working with Appareo Systems to install flight data monitoring systems on their aircraft.
Excerpt from Rotor & Wing Interview
Rotor & Wing: I’d like to start by talking about your “raising the bar” philosophy with respect to transportation in our highly regulated industry, particularly helicopters. What does that raised bar look like for rotorcraft?
Hersman: One of the challenges we see at the Safety Board is that people are often just meeting the minimums. But sometimes the minimums just aren’t enough. Unfortunately, it takes a fatal accident and recommendations from the Safety Board to identify that. That’s really what our recommendations do—address areas where the existing rules, regulations, laws and requirements aren’t enough to identify the gaps and the holes in the safety net.
“Raising the bar” is stretching a little bit, doing something that might get pushback. It gets people thinking about where they want to be. I’ll share with you a quote that I have often used from Roslyn Carter. “A good leader takes people where they want to go, but a great leader takes people where they need to be.” For example, Bell Helicopter and American Eurocopter are both working with Appareo to install a flight recorder on all their new production helicopters. Their decision to install that equipment on newly manufactured helicopters raises the bar. That’s exactly what we want to see—voluntary action leading the way. If they can do it, others can do it, too.