The accident picture in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year showed mixed results, according to statistics compiled by Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla. There were two fatal accidents involving jet operations in the first three months of last year, compared with no fatal accidents in the January-through-March timeframe this year. However, the numbers of total accidents, fatal accidents and fatalities involving turboprops all increased quarter-over-quarter.
For the second time in a quarter-over-quarter period, corporate jets flown by salaried crews experienced no accidents. In fact, in this quarter, the four accidents involving business jets all occurred in just one operational segment–Part 135 on-demand charter.
On-demand charter was also the segment in business turboprop operations that experienced the highest number of accidents, compared with the other segments. And, like jet operations, there were no accidents involving corporate turboprops flown by salaried crews in either the first quarter of this year or the same quarter last year.
Worldwide there are about 13,000 business jets and 10,000 turboprops. However, although the worldwide turboprop fleet is only about two-thirds the size of the jet fleet, turboprops as a group typically experience roughly four times as many serious accidents as jets. There was no straying from that ratio in the first quarter of this year. In addition, four more people were killed in turboprop crashes in the first period of this year than in the first period last year.
In the first quarter of this year, fractional turbine aircraft operations maintained their exemplary safety record. To date, there have been no fatal accidents involving this segment.