Business Turbine Airplane Fatalities Increase

 - October 17, 2006, 10:40 AM

The number of fatalities in turbine business airplane accidents increased nearly 80 percent (mostly due to crashes involving turboprops) in the first nine months of this year, compared with the same period last year, according to statistics compiled by safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla.

Eight people were killed in the one fatal corporate jet accident (the February 16 crash of a Circuit City Citation 560) between January 1 and September 30, compared with six people in one air-taxi accident in the same period last year. Nonfatal accidents involving business jets also increased period over period–from 13 to 17. There were no fatal accidents involving air-taxi jets in the first three quarters of this year.

While the total number of turboprop accidents–30–was the same from last year to this, the number of fatalities increased dramatically. Fatalities involving turboprops–particularly owner-flown turboprops–accounted for the vast majority of all turbine aircraft fatalities–28 in the first nine months of this year compared with seven in the same period last year. But fatalities involving air-taxi operators of turboprops decreased–from 11 in the first three quarters of last year to seven this year. In both periods, there were no fatal accidents of corporate and executive turboprops flown by professional (salaried) crews.

Fractional operators continued to maintain their flawless record when it comes to fatal or serious accidents. However, Breiling noted that fractional aircraft were involved in five “incidents” in the first three quarters of this year, versus two last year. (Incidents are normally mishaps that do not result in substantial damage or serious injuries and are not investigated by the NTSB).