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Helicopter Association International has released a new, online aviation wire strike safety awareness video. "Surviving the Wires Environment" is posted as a streaming video on the HAI Web site www.rotor.com and can be viewed for free by HAI members and nonmembers. The video was produced in cooperation with Southern California Edison and AEGIS Insurance Services, Inc.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, wire and obstruction strikes are the top operational cause for fatal rotorcraft accidents. Over the last decade there has been an average of one aviation obstruction strike every five days in the U.S. Nearly 30 percent of all collisions are fatal and the number nearly doubles when the aircraft is operating in or around instrument meteorological conditions or at night.

"There is a tremendous need in the aviation community for a safety awareness tool such as this video," said Ed DiCampli, HAI’s Executive Vice President and corporate secretary. HAI reported that the video was viewed more than 4,500 times during the first week it was online, and more than 6,892 times from February 22 through March 8.

"Every pilot – fixed-wing or rotary; experienced or newly licensed – needs to watch this video," said DiCampli. He said the wires environment is becoming more crowded with obstructions every day. "The majority of these new obstructions are not indicated on aviation charts, and they are not required to have markings or warning systems," DiCampli said. He added that the low-level air space is becoming increasingly more crowded with man-made obstructions. "About 7,000 new aviation hazards, such as radio antennas and communication towers, are being built every year, and the charts cannot keep up with those changes."

In addition, SCE’s Chief Pilot ‘TC’ Corell said the U.S. electric utility grid is expanding dramatically and thousands of new transmission and distribution towers, and thousands of miles of new wires, are being built every year.

The safety video identifies the key hazards and issues every pilot needs to know and understand to be safer when operating in low-level flight operations. The story is told through interviews with pilots who have survived obstruction collisions, and features comments from some of the leading experts in aviation collision avoidance. The video explores the intricacies of pilot vision and reviews the key components of a comprehensive utility pilot/ground crew safety training program.

The producers emphasize that the video is not a substitute for a formal wire avoidance training program

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