Despite a modest increase in the number of business aircraft flight hours between last year and 2009, the number of accidents remained virtually static, according to year-end statistics released by Boca Raton, Fla.-based industry safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates. In 2010 there were 45 accidents involving U.S.-registered business jets and turboprops combined, just one more than in the previous year, while the number of fatal accidents decreased, to seven last year from eight the previous year. According to Breiling, the number of business aviation incidents (minor occurrences that often involve costly repairs to aircraft) has in general been on the rise in recent years.
The total number of business jet accidents rose to nine in 2010 from eight in 2009, while both years saw just one fatal jet crash, each claiming two lives. The fractional business jet market experienced one nonfatal accident in 2010 compared with none the previous year.
In the turboprop sector, the total number of accidents remained unchanged at 36, but the number of fatal accidents decreased by one, to six in 2010. The total number of fatalities in those accidents dropped to 17 last year, from 30 the previous year.
Part 135 turboprop operations experienced an erosion in safety, suffering 17 crashes (two fatal) last year versus 11 in 2009; public service/government-flown aircraft suffered three nonfatal accidents last year after recording a clean slate in 2009.
Both the corporate/executive and private/business categories experienced fewer accidents in 2010 than in the previous year. The former category suffered half as many crashes (three, one fatal) last year compared with 2009 (six, two fatal).
Turboprops flown privately by non-salaried crew saw improvement, with the total number of accidents decreasing to 13 from 18 in 2009. The number of fatal crashes decreased as well, from five to three last year.
Robert E. Breiling Associates publishes The Annual Business Turbine Aircraft Accident Review.