Business aviation safety slides

 - October 27, 2008, 10:09 AM

In the first three quarters of this year, both the business jet and turboprop segments saw an increase in accidents and fatalities over the same period last year, according to statistics compiled by Boca Raton, Fla.-based industry safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates. In the business jet category, this year saw four more accidents compared with the first nine months of last year. While the number of fatal accidents remained consistent at five, this year they were more costly, resulting in 22 deaths, as opposed to 14 for the first three quarters of last year.

Part 135 jet operations experienced a decline in the overall number of accidents, but the three fatal crashes in that segment so far this year claimed 15 lives, 50 percent more than the same number of fatal accidents during the same period last year. The corporate/executive category saw the number of accidents rise, from three to six. That tally included one fatal accident, which accounted for five fatalities, or the total so far this year. There were no fatalities in this segment during the same period last year. The fractional jet segment experienced two nonfatal accidents during this period, compared with last year’s unblemished total.

For the turboprop segment, the news is worse. Thus far in 2008 there have been 34 accidents–12 of them fatal. There were seven fatal accidents during the same period last year. Those 12 fatal accidents accounted for 27 deaths so far this year, compared with 18 deaths during the first nine months of the previous year. The corporate/executive turboprop segment, which saw no fatalities during the first three quarters of last year, experienced one costly fatal crash in August resulting in 10 deaths when a Beech King Air A100 crashed shortly after takeoff in Utah, claiming the lives of the pilot and all nine passengers on board.