The total combined number of accidents, incidents and fatalities declined for the worldwide U.S. and non-U.S. turbine business-aircraft fleet in the first three months of this year versus the same period last year, according to data compiled by AIN. However, some individual segments were inconsistent with the overall results. For example, although U.S.-registered business jet and turboprop accidents in the first quarter resulted in fewer fatalities than in the same period last year, the business jet segment experienced no improvement in the total number of fatal and nonfatal crashes. And while the number of fatal accidents involving non-U.S.-registered business jets also remained unchanged in the two comparable quarters, the number of fatalities doubled.
Specifically, accidents involving U.S.-registered business jets and turboprops resulted in 15 fatalities in the first quarter compared with 22 in the same period last year. Five people died in two crashes of N-numbered business jets in the first quarter versus seven people killed in two accidents in the corresponding period last year–all under Part 91 private operations. The two fatal accidents of the first quarter occurred in January: a Challenger 601-3R mishap in Aspen, Colo., that killed the copilot; and a U.S.-registered Citation 501SP crash in Germany that killed all four people aboard. There was one Part 91K fractional jet incident in the last quarter versus one nonfatal accident and one incident in the same quarter last year.
Compared with the first quarter last year, in the same period this year U.S.-registered turboprops cut in half exactly their accident figures: to two nonfatal occurrences from four, and to three fatal crashes from six. The number of fatalities also dropped. Fifteen people were killed in the first quarter of last year versus five in the recent quarter. All three fatal turboprop accidents this year occurred under Part 91 compared with five last year plus one under Part 135 air-taxi rules. There were no accidents or incidents in either quarter involving Part 91K turboprop operations.
Non-N-numbered business jets recorded one fatal crash in each of the comparable first quarters, but the fatality count doubled to four this year from two last year, making this segment the only turbine-airplane category to have more fatalities in the first quarter compared with that period last year. All four people aboard died in the March 3 crash of a Falcon 20 in Iran being operated by that country’s Civil Aviation Organization. Fatalities in non-U.S.-registered turboprops declined to eight in two crashes this year from 27 in four accidents last year.
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