Though business jet accidents in the first half of the year decreased 31 percent versus the same period last year, fatal accidents were up from two to five, according to figures released by Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla. As a result, business jet-related fatalities were up from six last year to 14 in the first half of this year.
Total business aviation accidents were down slightly from last year, from 29 to 25. While a few other sectors improved slightly, corporate business jet operators accounted for the majority of the decrease, down to just one accident in the first six months of this year compared to six last year. Breiling defines the category as Part 91, professionally flown jet operators. Conversely, the air-taxi record of both jet and turboprop operators was significantly worse this year, with a combined 15 accidents, five of them fatal, compared to seven accidents in the first half of last year. All told, there were 21 business aviation-related fatalities in the first half of the year, 14 of them attributable to air-taxi operations.
The numbers do not seem to be improving in the second half of this year. In the beginning of August a medical transport King Air E90 crashed on takeoff from Ruidoso Airport in New Mexico, killing all five aboard.
Though the business turboprop fleet accounted for 13 accidents last year and 14 this year, only three of those accidents were fatal compared to seven last year. That translates to a fatal accident rate of about 21 percent, less than half the rate for business jets at 45 percent.
Fractional operators continued their stellar safety record in the first half of the year, improving their already low accident rate from one nonfatal accident last year to zero accidents and one incident this year.