Turbine business airplane accidents level off

 - January 30, 2008, 9:03 AM

After last year, when the total number of U.S.-registered turbine business airplanes involved in serious accidents decreased significantly from 2001, the accident picture improved little in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year, according to safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla.

The number of non-fatal accidents involving jets decreased, the number of fatal accidents remained the same, and the number of people killed dropped by two. There were no fatal accidents involving Part 91 corporate or Part 135 air-taxi operators.

The sole fatal business jet accident involved a Citation 501SP that crashed after an uncontrolled descent in IMC, killing the pilot and the two passengers aboard.

Business turboprops had the same number of total accidents and fatalities in the first quarter as the same period one year ago. However, the breakdown is quite different. Two people were killed in one Part 91 corporate-flown turboprop in the first quarter versus no fatal accidents in the first quarter of last year. Although the majority of fatalities in turboprops involved owner-flown airplanes, they did better than the previous first quarter. But the fatal accident record for Part 135 turboprop operators worsened considerably.