Helicopter pilots and passengers both have a responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others when flying. Although some of the duties may differ, both sets of responsibility are equally important. Pilots and passengers should always practice helicopter safety both when they are on, and around, helicopters.
Helicopter Safety for Pilots
The first step to safety is to think carefully about it before you even take a seat in the helicopter. It’s a good idea to create a safety checklist to help you remember essential things that need to be done. The second step of safety for pilots is not operating a helicopter while you are sick or unwell. Piloting while you are ill could affect your flight, by delaying your response skills and the ability to focus and make sound decisions.
If you are currently taking medications that make you feel dizzy, sleepy, confused or any other similar side effects, you should refrain from operating a helicopter. This includes both prescribed drugs and over-the-counter medication. Both types of drugs have side effects you need to be mindful of.
Stress can be a factor in everyone’s life, but too much pressure is an issue, especially when you are a helicopter pilot. If any current psychological factors are causing you more stress than usual, or emotional situations are putting pressure on you mentally, as a pilot, you should reconsider flying a helicopter. Stress of any kind, including psychological, can impair your judgment, as well as, performance.
Alcohol intake is important. Many people enjoy a beer or other type of alcohol to unwind or have a great time, but if you have consumed alcohol within the last 24 hours, you need to reconsider piloting a helicopter. Even if you only had one drink, save flying for another time.
How many hours do you sleep each day? You need at least 8 hours to function correctly on a daily basis. You should avoid being sleepy or fatigued before operating a helicopter. Make sure you are well-rested before you try managing anything on a helicopter.
Helicopter Safety for Passengers
As a passenger, you also have a responsibility for helicopter safety, while you’re on or near a helicopter. Before you begin walking towards a helicopter, make sure all items are secure or stored in a safe place before boarding, including jewelry, hats, purses, wallets, tennis shoes, and other apparel and items that can be a potential danger to other passengers and pilots. Do not wear headphones or similar items on a helicopter unless they are given to you. Smoking or running within 50 feet of a helicopter is not permitted. Be cautious and always follow the pilot’s instructions whenever they are given.