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World Leaders and Celebs Love Their Helicopters, Despite Accident Rate

Whereas Iran mourns the lack of President Ebrahim Raisi and three prime officers who died on Sunday when their helicopter crashed in a mountainous area of the border with Azerbaijan, considerations about helicopter security have come into the highlight as soon as once more.

Raisi joins a protracted checklist of world leaders and celebrities who’ve misplaced their lives in helicopter crashes. It is a grim tally that features NBA legend Kobe Bryant, Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and, extra not too long ago, Sebastian Piñera, the previous president of Chile.

On this photograph offered by Islamic Republic Information Company IRNA on Might 19, 2024, exhibits the helicopter carrying Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi taking off on the Iranian border with Azerbaijan.

by Ali Hamed HAGHDOUST / IRNA/AFP by way of Getty Photographs

Iranian officers have blamed U.S. sanctions for contributing to Raisi’s demise, alleging that the sanctions have severely impacted Iran’s aviation upkeep and security requirements. However the knowledge exhibits that flying in a helicopter is among the many most harmful methods to journey by air.

In response to the Nationwide Transportation Security Board (NTSB), helicopters crash at a better fee than any kind of airplane. The crash fee for helicopters is 9.84 per 100,000 hours, indicating a 35% larger threat of an accident in comparison with airplanes. For basic plane — reminiscent of cargo planes and personal jets — that quantity is 7.28 crashes per 100,000 hours of flight time. Business plane have a far decrease fee of crashes than each.

The commonest consider helicopter accidents is pilot error, typically resulting from fatigue, excessive stress, or dealing with advanced tools, as famous by aviation coaching supplier Pilot Institute.

“There are the explanation why the pilot error is much more seemingly in a helicopter than in an airplane. Firstly, most helicopters require extra hands-on flying than fixed-wing plane,” in keeping with the group.

Helicopters are additionally inherently troublesome to pilot and fly at decrease altitudes and speeds than planes, exposing them to challenges like climate and obstacles.

Nonetheless, many aviation consultants argue that helicopters stay a comparatively secure mode of transportation, particularly in comparison with automobiles. In response to the U.S. Helicopter Security Crew, between 2019 and 2023 the deadly accident fee was 0.73 per 100,000 flight hours. Whereas driving deaths are tabulated in another way, the newest authorities statistics estimate 1.35 fatalities per 100 million automobile miles pushed.

Helicopter security statistics additionally don’t have in mind that many choppers are used for duties that demand exact maneuvers in difficult environments, reminiscent of medical evacuations and firefighting.

Notable helicopter fatalities

Earlier this yr, former Chilean President Sebastián Piñera died when his helicopter crashed right into a lake in southern Chile. Piñera was personally piloting the chopper to his dwelling in Coique Bay to have lunch together with his household when, a couple of quarter mile from the shore, he misplaced management of the plane and crashed into the water. The reason for the crash remains to be below investigation.

Kobe Bryant attends a screening
Kobe Bryant attends the LA Neighborhood Screening Of Warner Bros Photos’ “Simply Mercy” at Cinemark Baldwin Hills on January 06, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. The star died in a helicopter crash weeks later.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Photographs

In 2020, the sports activities world was shocked by the demise of basketball participant Kobe Bryant. He, his daughter Gianna, and 7 others died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California amid harmful fog.

And in 2018, one other high-profile accident occurred when Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, proprietor of English Soccer Membership Leicester Metropolis, died in a helicopter crash outdoors King Energy Stadium in Leicester, England. 4 of the 5 folks on board survived the preliminary accident, however died when the chopper exploded, seemingly from a gasoline leak.