The total number of U.S.-registered turbine airplanes involved in serious accidents last year decreased significantly from 2001, a year that saw business aviation accidents increase over 2000. Last year there were 41 nonfatal accidents, 19 fatal accidents and 47 fatalities compared with 44 nonfatal accidents and 24 fatal accidents that killed 80 passengers and crew in 2001, according to safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla.
However, Part 91 operations suffered one fatal corporate jet accident last year (involving a Challenger on takeoff in England) versus none in 2001. There were no fatal accidents involving Part 91 turboprops last year compared with one in 2001. Part 135 operators of jets and turboprops substantially improved their fatal accident record last year, but there were three serious accidents involving fractional jets compared with none in 2001.
The October 25 crash of a King Air on a charter flight that killed eight people, including Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), was the deadliest turbine airplane crash in the U.S. last year. There were no deaths on scheduled airliners in the U.S. last year, according to the FAA. The Aircraft Crashes Records Office also noted that air traffic last year was lower than it was in 2001.