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After allowing for activity levels, ATSB research indicates that Robinson R22 helicopters have a similar safety profile to other comparable helicopters.

This study was prompted by increasing concerns about light utility helicopter safety in Australia. Light utility helicopters make up half the registered fleet yet were involved in 72 per cent of all helicopter accidents between 1985 and 2003.

The report compared accident involvement and accident rates of four helicopter models; Robinson R22, Bell/Agusta/Kawasaki 47G, Hughes/Schweizer 269 and Hiller UH-12E.

The Robinson R22 was involved in more accidents and fatal accidents than any other light utility helicopter but also flew more hours than the other three helicopters whose risk profiles were studied. The Bell/Agusta/Kawasaki 47G model had the next highest involvement in accidents followed by the Hughes/Schweizer 269 and then the Hiller UH-12E. However, when comparing the relative safety of different aircraft models the best available indicator is the accident rate per hours flown.

The overall trend in accident involvement and accident rate per hours flown has improved since 1990 for all the light utility helicopter models. The accident rate per hours flown for the Robinson R22 model indicates that up to 2002 this helicopter's record was as safe, if not safer, than other similar helicopter models. Since 2002, the Bell/Agusta/Kawasaki 47G model has had the lowest accident rate per hours flown.

For the combined period, 1990-2002, the Robinson R22 had the lowest accident rate per hours flown of 1.8 accidents per 10,000 flying hours compared with the next lowest rate for the Bell/Agusta/Kawasaki 47G of 3.1 accidents per 10,000 flying hours.

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Last update 01 April 2011