Business turbine airplane Accident fewer but deadlier

 - October 31, 2007, 12:08 PM

While the number of fatal accidents involving turbine-powered business airplanes declined slightly through the first nine months of this year compared with last year, those accidents took a larger toll, according to statistics compiled by Boca Raton, Fla.-based safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates. Through September of this year, 12 fatal accidents resulting in 33 fatalities were recorded, compared with 15 such accidents and 30 casualties in the same period last year.

For business jets, the overall number of accidents declined from 23 last year to 18 this year, but five of this year’s accidents–none involving corporate jets–resulted in 14 fatalities. A June 4 accident involving a Citation II that crashed into Lake Michigan while on a medical transport flight is responsible for six fatalities.

For turboprops, the total number of accidents remained nearly level–23 in the first nine months of this year versus 22 the previous year, but the number of fatal accidents declined from 11 last year to seven this year.

Accidents involving aircraft flown under Part 135 commercial/air taxi rules increased 40 percent during the period, from 15 to 21, and this segment accounts for the majority of fatalities. So far this year, the Part 135 segment has seen nine more fatalities than in the same period last year.

The major fractional operators continue to maintain their high level of safety, with no accidents reported during the first nine months of this year. The sector reported two nonfatal accidents in the same period last year. However, the number of incidents (normally mishaps that do not result in substantial damage or serious injuries and are therefore not investigated by the NTSB) this year more than doubled over last year’s number.