Flying for a living my fellow helicopter pilots within the company and I are (mostly) willing participants in numerous Safety Management Programs through the company and the agencies we work for. Some are better than others. But as a joke we changed the old slogan “Safety First” to “Safety Third” amongst ourselves. The reason for this logic was that if safety was truly first for an individual, he or she would not
1. Be in a helicopter in the first place and
2. Flying said helicopter into a raging forest fire
Ergo, safety would have to come third and obviously above else, just ignoring those other two facts. Now, before you tell me that safety should always come first and tell me the whole reasoning why, I can tell you we have already been in trouble for this theory on numerous occasions.
However, I do believe it takes a certain “special” (adventurous? Or dumb maybe?) person to look at a helicopter and think “Yeah! I’d love to fly that! How hard can it be?” where a more natural reaction to looking at all these spinning parts should be to walk in the other direction. Then, we train this adventurous, risk embracing individual and turn him or her into a helicopter pilot. And from the second they have their ticket; we now try to make them as safe as possible for the rest of their career …
There is some irony in this whole thing you would have to admit.
Luckily, the majority of aircraft operators are able to go more than 8 days without an accident on regular bases. Maybe because of their safety management.