Runway Excursions More Common, Says USAIG Safety Director

 - May 7, 2012, 4:35 PM

While high-speed runway departures that result in shattered aircraft make the headlines, runway excursions of all types are becoming increasingly more common, said Paul Ratté, aviation safety programs director at insurance provider USAIG. He made the claim at a safety seminar last week sponsored by USAIG, NBAA and the Westchester Aviation Association, held at the Hilton Hotel in Rye, N.Y.

According to statistics from the Flight Safety Foundation, more than 650 Part 121 runway-excursion accidents occurred worldwide in jets and turboprops weighing more than 12,500 pounds mtow from 1995 to 2010. Sixty-five of these were fatal crashes, which claimed the lives of 1,121 people. During that period USAIG alone paid out more than $135 million in claims related to general aviation runway-excursion accidents, said Ratté. While the causes for such accidents vary, the presenters at the seminar identified “failure to go around” as one of the leading culprits.

A recent Flight Safety Foundation study cited at the seminar found that out of some 35,000 unstable approaches, 98.6 percent of the crews continued with the landing. “This is the aviation equivalent of texting while driving,” Ratté said. “We know it’s dangerous, we’ve got policies that say don’t do it, but everybody is doing it anyway.”

The safety seminar will be repeated on June 20 at Key Air’s facility at Waterbury-Oxford Airport (OXC) in New Haven, Conn.