While most aviation safety sources have identified loss of control (LOC) as the leading cause of accidents in the past few years, controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) “is making a strong comeback,” according to Flight Safety Foundation fellow Jim Burin. At the FSF’s Business Aviation Safety Seminar in Montreal last week, he cited recent accidents such as the loss of the Sukhoi Superjet SSJ-100 airliner demonstrator in May last year when the crew ignored multiple automated terrain warnings and flew the airplane into a mountain in Indonesia with the loss of all 45 people aboard.
Burin also mentioned that 17 turboprops with more than 14 seats were lost to CFIT accidents last year alone, with four more lost so far this year to flights into terrain.
When Burin reviewed business jet accidents over the past two years, he found that none were CFIT occurrences. What he did identify, however, was that of the 20 business aviation accidents in 2011 and 2012, the majority took place during the approach to landing phase. Three business aviation accidents that have occurred so far this year also took place during the approach to landing phase.