Spotlight on Safety

HAI’s Spotlight on Safety is a safety promotion initiative that provides relevant safety tips and stories contained in videos and posters that you can reference when emphasizing a particular safety topic in your operation.

May 24 SOS Video

Confined Area Operations




In our May 2021 spotlight, we feature Matthew Goertz, director of operations at Trans Aero, who warns of the small margin for error that pilots encounter during confined-area operations. Matt states that careful calculation of performance limitations while paying attention to wind and density altitude are crucial.





Previous Spotlight on Safety Videos

April 2
Introducing HAI’s Spotlight on Safety


Welcome to HAI’s Spotlight on Safety, where we showcase your safety tips and stories that others can use to help enhance #helicoptersafety in your daily operations. If you have a safety tip that could help save lives and prevent future accidents, share it with us and we’ll help get the word out.

April 9
Slow Your Roll


Fast is fun. But going faster comes at a high cost when performing critical flight duties. To prevent fatal mistakes in aviation operations, our advice is to everyone, no matter how experienced they are, is to…slow…your…roll. In this spotlight on safety, we focus on three key tasks that will help slow things down and reduce your risk in your daily flight operations.

April 16
Use Your Superpower


Do you have a superpower? In this spotlight on safety we remind helicopter pilots, owners, and operators how easy it is to unleash their “superpower” when they choose to Land & Live.

April 23
Helmet On, Visor Down


Flying a helicopter without your helmet on and visor down is like playing a deadly game of airborne chicken. Except in this version, if neither bird flinches, you both lose! In this Spotlight on Safety, Rick Kenin, Chief Operating Officer - Transport at Boston Medflight and Chair of HAI’s Safety Working Group reminds us all how important it is to keep our visors down on every flight.

To report a bird strike or learn more what you can do to help address wildlife hazards, go to

April 30
Planning for IMC


In this week’s special edition of Spotlight on Safety, pilot, Bond Durham, from Garland, TX reminds us all to train and prepare for unplanned IMC. Mother nature always gets a vote, and every pilot that begins a VFR flight in clear skies must be ready to avoid or safely recover from unexpected weather conditions. If you suspect marginal conditions on your flight, change the route, or wait it out. Professional pilots always respect the weather so they can keep the rotors turning! Want to share your own safety tips?

May 7
Reporting Close Calls Saves Lives


“Oops, that was close!” Everyone in an aircraft or on the hangar floor has very likely spoken those words. To prevent others from making the same mistake, they also shared that experience to avoid a repeat event that could result in loss of life, aircraft, or the business. This Spotlight on Safety emphasizes the importance of reporting even minor incidents and introduces the free HARP tool—a “one-and-done” portal that routes your aviation hazard report to the correct agency or organization.

May 14
360-Plus Final Walk Around


In today's HAI Spotlight on Safety, HAI President and CEO Jim Viola reminds us to always conduct a final 360-plus walk-around before strapping in and starting the helicopter. That final walk-around has helped Jim and many other pilots discover issues that were missed during a preflight just moments before. Remember, a small issue on the ground can become a BIG issue in the air! A final 360-plus walk-around is one sure way to help you keep the rotors turning!

May 21
Altitude Insurance


In this Spotlight on Safety, Larry Mattiello, director of aviation for The Loomis Company and member of the HAI Safety Working Group is making us an offer that we can’t refuse – free altitude insurance! With increasing rates and reduced access to aviation insurance, choosing to fly at a higher cruise altitude is a no brainer. It can help you avoid some common in-flight hazards or give you that few extra seconds you need to calmly deal with an in-flight emergency.

May 28
How Do You Rank Safety?


How do you rank safety in your operation? “Top priority, of course—above all else!” is the most likely reply. In this Spotlight, HAI Director of Safety Chris Hill challenges viewers to take a step back from the feel-good platitudes. Is safety really at the heart of your operational thinking, planning, and execution? High-performing aviation professionals consistently demonstrate behaviors that link safety management and operational excellence.

June 4
Take Back Your Time and Reduce Stress


In today's HAI Spotlight on Safety, Bruce Webb, director of Aviation Education for Airbus Helicopters, offers some personal advice on how to reduce your stress when planning to fly cross-country trips. By heeding his simple advice, among other things, you can reclaim the time you need to focus the more important aspects of your trip – like your health, your aircraft, your route, and anticipated environmental conditions.

June 11
Quality Assurance Programs


In this Spotlight, Chris Young, founder and principal consultant for CY Consulting Solutions, LLC and member of HAI’s Safety Working Group offers us three quick tips on how we can reduce costs and save lives through sustainment of an effective quality assurance program. 

June 18
Flight Time is the Right Time


In this Spotlight, Stan Rose, founder and CEO of the Helicopter Safety Alliance shares a personal story that emphasizes how a simple desktop simulator can help any pilot improve their confidence to deal with future in-flight emergencies including unplanned flight into IMC.

June 25
Helicopter Safety Technologies


In this Spotlight, HAI Director of Safety, Chris Hill, points out the increasing availability of helicopter safety technologies that were formerly found only on larger and more expensive aircraft. Many of these once elusive yet life-saving technologies are now widely available and affordable to all aircraft operators.

Just Say No if It’s Not Safe to Go!


In this Spotlight, Evie Lynn, a pilot for Aspen Helicopters reminds us that when mother nature serves up poor or uncertain conditions, show her some respect. Delay or cancel that flight and live to fly another day!

July 9
HAI Spotlight on Safety: Nutrition


In this Spotlight, Jeff Currin from LifeFlight Network and member of the HAI Safety Working Group offers a few nuggets on nutrition. Check out what he reveals about research that found correlations between pilot nutrition and flight performance!

July 16
USHST's Top 10 Ways to Prevent Helicopter Accidents


In this Spotlight, Tony Molinaro, head of communications for the US Helicopter Safety Team and International Helicopter Safety Foundation reviews the US Helicopter Safety Team (USHST’s) Top 10 List for reducing helicopter accidents. Follow this list and you will have a much better chance of stopping an accident chain in its tracks.

July 23
HAI Spotlight on Safety: Land & LIVE Story by Kim Hatch


In this Spotlight on Safety, Kim Hatch, director of Operations for Kachina Aviation provides us with the first personal Land & LIVE Story published in this series. It also earned him the top prize of a $500 VISA gift card for the best video submission during HAI HELI-EXPO 2020. To take the Land & LIVE Pledge or submit your story, go to

July 30
Check Your Hazardous Attitude at the Cockpit Door


In this Spotlight, Grace Wagner, tour pilot at Panhandle Helicopter, cautions us to be on the lookout for the signs of hazardous attitudes we may possess. If you start noticing indications of insubordination, impulsiveness, ego, resignation, and machismo, it’s probably time to stop, take a deep breath, and recage your personal attitude gyro.

August 6
Set and Respect Personal Limits


In this Spotlight, Chynna Rosett, pilot and general manager at Panhandle Helicopter Inc., cautions us that no matter our flying experience, we must always remain humble and respect our personal limits, especially when upgrading to new or different aircraft and systems.

August 13
Fly IFR Right or Stay on the Ground!


In this Spotlight, Chris Hill, HAI director of safety, makes a pitch to ditch the reckless strategy of “I Follow Roads” for navigating in poor weather. If you don’t have good visual conditions, then file and fly IFR the right way. Otherwise, stay on the ground – and LIVE to fly another day!

August 27
Thoughts from an Accident Investigator


In this Spotlight, Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska Regional Office, offers some sobering thoughts based on decades investigation experience. Clint says that if pilots could see firsthand how human factors are linked to helicopter accidents, it would profoundly change their level of respect for and adherence to personal limitations.

September 10th
Can You Cut It?


In this Spotlight, HAI Director of Safety Chris Hill reminds us that flight in the wire-and-obstruction environment can be deadly. Wire-strike accidents are almost always preventable when training, planning, and avoidance tactics and technologies are properly employed. But when all else fails, a wire-strike protection system comes in handy when you need it! Shout-out to Magellan Aerospace for supplying the Wire Strike Protection System and video!

September 24th
Manage Risk With the TEAM Checklist


TEAM Works! In this week’s Spotlight, Dave Dziura, vice chair of the HAI Safety Working Group and chief pilot at Colorado Heli-Ops, summarizes this popular aeronautical decision-making (ADM) checklist, which has helped many pilots choose and implement risk controls before potentially hazardous flights. Dave’s message pairs well with a June 2020 EASA article on helicopter airmanship that lists risk assessment as a key principle of airmanship. 

October 8th
Back to Basics


Let’s all get back to basics! In this week’s Spotlight, Tarek Loutfy, senior operations and flight safety manager at GE Aviation and member of the HAI Safety Working Group, offers this sound advice. Despite the daily hazards and distractions that we face, Tarek’s reminders for us to review OEM and operations manuals and to strictly follow policies and procedures will help make sure we all get home safe and sound.

October 22
Master Essential Skills: Practice Autorotations


In our very first international edition of Spotlight on Safety, pilot and mechanic Alvaro Carbono, delivers an important message in Spanish and English. He advises us to practice autorotations and other highly demanding maneuvers until we achieve the highest levels of proficiency. A dedicated focus on training helps ensure that we are prepared to handle unwanted in-flight surprises.

November 5
Hit the Safety Culture Jackpot


In this Spotlight, Tara Harl, aviation safety manager at North Memorial Health Air Care, reminds us all that you’ve hit the safety culture jackpot when leaders and employees share a clear understanding about the boundaries for acceptable and unacceptable risk tolerance and behavior. Don’t wait for an accident or incident; act now to establish the foundation for a solid safety culture.

November 19
Take the High Road when Operations Permit – Fly Above them All!


This week’s spotlight is right in time for Drone Safety Awareness Week! In this video, Robert Lakind, HAI Safety Working Group member and aviation attorney at Szaferman Lakind, offers some simple advice to fellow pilots: take the high road and cruise at higher altitudes – well above 400 AGL when possible – to dramatically reduce the odds of crossing paths with an unmanned aircraft system (UAS, or drone).

December 3rd
Is it time to retrofit with a crash resistant fuel system?


This week’s spotlight focuses on the importance of aircraft occupant protection. HAI Safety Working Group member and post-crash fire victim Dave Repsher makes a compelling case for retrofitting legacy aircraft with helicopter crash-resistant fuel systems. Be sure to stay tuned at the end of Dave’s message for Rotorcraft Pro’s excellent summary of Robertson & StandardAero’s development of the civil crash-resistant fuel tanks. Thanks to Robertson & StandardAero, Robinson Helicopter Company, and Rotorcraft Pro for their support of this message! For more information about occupant safety, download the FAA Helicopter Occupant Safety Tool Kit.

January 7th
Landing in an Unfamiliar Spot? Know Before You Go!


In our first Spotlight on Safety for 2021, we thank Rex Alexander, president at Five-Alpha LLC, for reminding all pilots to do their homework before landing at any unfamiliar “heliport.” Just because a proposed landing area has markings that appear legitimate, those markings do not imply permission to land or that the area is a safe or legal landing zone.

February 18th
Keep Cool Under Pressure


In this spotlight, HAI Director of Safety Chris Hill offers some tips for staying calm and keeping our priorities straight when under pressure. During flight, we can all fall prey to the occasional helmet fire​ or get distracted over little things, and forget to simply aviate, navigate, and communicate. When encountering an aircraft emergency, remain calm and, above all, maintain aircraft control before diverting your attention to any other task. Share this video with all the pilots you know and tell us about a time you had a mini or full-on helmet fire and what you did to maintain aircraft control!

March 18th
Keep Cool Under Pressure


In this spotlight, Sikorsky’s chief pilot for safety, Dave Blair, leads by example as he shares some life-saving advice. Wear a properly fitted flame resistant flight suit, gloves. and boots when you fly. Dave flies in some of the most advanced aircraft in the world, each specially designed to withstand crash forces and mitigate post-crash fires. But he still wears his flight gear on every flight. Dress like the professionals when you fly. Dress for success AND survivability. One day it could give you the time you need to escape a burning aircraft and save your life!