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Data Sharing: the Next Step Forward for Helicopter Safety

I think everyone agrees that there is value in the sharing of data. No one company – mercifully - has enough accident and incident data to support a meaningful analysis, except perhaps to resolve a singular problem inside their own operation.  At the same time, in aviation, we often see similar types of accidents occurring to different operators year-over-year.  We rarely see “new accident-types” as-they-say, except insofar as we new technology becomes available.

Without shared industry-wide data, it is even difficult to gauge how widespread the problems are in our industry.  How would you even know if the operator at the other end of the airport had an incident falling-short of an accident except by word of mouth?  “Culture east strategy for breakfast”. Is our industry ready to share data? Can Transport Canada be trusted to collect data?

Transport Canada is pushing the industry to share data with them, even in the absence of adequate protection for the data (i.e. ATIP applications; Limited Immunity from Subpoenas; immunity from demands in the House of Commons; immunity from enforcement, with certain limitations for gross negligence or intentional acts, for example).

I believe that Transport Canada needs to set the stage by sponsoring an arms-length body that could collect the data using a common taxonomy, and ensure that the information was cleansed of any information that would identify the operator, before destroying the source material.  I welcome your thoughts at fred.jones@h-a-c.ca.