Jet safety stays level while turboprops plummet

 - July 30, 2008, 7:07 AM

The first half of the year saw the number of business jet accidents remain the same as during the first half of last year, while the turboprop segment saw a sharp increase, according to statistics released by Boca Raton, Fla.-based industry safety tracker Robert E. Breiling Associates.

Part 135 jet operations had 10 accidents in the first half of last year, shrinking to four thus far this year. The number of fatal accidents dropped from three in
the first half of last year to just one, while the number of fatalities saw a corresponding decrease from 10 in the first half of 2007 to three so far this year.

The corporate/executive jet category experienced four accidents so far this year, including one fatal, a Cessna Citation I that crashed shortly after takeoff from Oklahoma City in March. That crash resulted in five fatalities, compared with none in the first six months of last year. The major fractional jet providers continued their exemplary level of safety, reporting only one nonfatal accident during the first half of this year.

The turboprop segment suffered a sharp deterioration in safety as the number of accidents in the first six months of 2008 increased to 24, from 14 in the same period last year.

Fatal accidents among turboprops doubled from four to eight so far this year as the number of deaths increased from 10 to 14. Accident rates, fatal accident rates and fatalities at Part 135 turboprop operators more than doubled first-half over first-half. The number of Part 135 turboprop accidents rose from five in the first half of 2007 to 12 in the first six months of this year, including five that resulted in 11 fatalities. Part 91 turboprop operators also saw an increase in the overall number of accidents from seven in the first half of 2007 to 10 this year, but the number of fatalities was halved to three from six.