Last year the U.S. business jet fleet experienced fewer fatalities compared with 2004, according to aviation safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla. The Part 91 corporate executive segment’s previous two-year nonfatal streak, however, came to an end early last year, with the crash of a Circuit City Citation 560 on February 16. That accident took the lives of both pilots and the six passengers.
Breiling’s figures show that a major improvement in the accident statistics of Part 135 business jet operations accounted for the decreased number of fatalities last year. Two people were killed in one Part 135 business jet accident last year, compared with 17 fatalities in four fatal accidents in 2004.
The accident picture for turboprops was also mixed, according to Breiling. There was one more fatality last year compared with 2004, primarily the result of a significant increase in the number of fatalities involving owner-pilot operations–27 last year versus seven in 2004. On the other hand, there were no fatalities involving Part 91 corporate turboprop accidents last year compared with 10 people killed in one accident in 2004 (Hendrick Motorsports’ King Air 200 on October 24).
Part 135 turboprop accidents also decreased last year compared with 2004 in terms of total accidents, fatal mishaps and the number of fatalities.
Fractional operations continue to have a zero-fatality record, and fractional business jets were involved in just two nonfatal occurrences last year, compared with four in 2004.
Note that for statistical purposes, Breiling classifies as air-taxi accidents those that involve Part 135 operators even if the accident occurs while the operator is conducting a positioning flight under Part 91.