U.S. Bizjet Fatalities Highest in Four Years

 - January 8, 2013, 4:05 PM

The number of fatalities in U.S.-registered business jet accidents last year was the highest it has been since 2008, according to statistics compiled by AIN using data from official accident investigative bodies from around the world. Last year, 24 people were killed in five accidents involving U.S.-registered business jets, compared with four fatalities in one accident in 2011. The last year in which the number of fatalities exceeded 24 was in 2008, when 27 people were killed in seven accidents.

All but one of the five fatal business jet accidents last year occurred while the aircraft was operating under Part 91. The one fatal accident in 2011 also happened under Part 91, though it was during a manufacturer test flight.

There were also seven fatal accidents involving U.S.-registered turboprops last year (all but one of the aircraft were flying under Part 91), resulting in the deaths of 15 people. This is an improvement over 2011, when 29 people were killed in 11 accidents involving U.S.-registered turboprops, nine of which were operating under Part 91.

Last year, two people were killed in one fatal accident involving a non-U.S.-registered business jet operating privately, compared with five crashes (two involving chartered business jetliners) that killed 68 people in 2011. Forty-two people were killed in 15 accidents involving non-U.S.-registered turboprops last year, versus 13 fatal accidents and 55 fatalities in 2011.


The growing gap of fatal accidents (mostly as a result of pilot error) in bizav vs commercial aviation, in particular the US airline industry, is reflective of the serious lack of standards and standard operating procedures in corporate aviation. Having spent over 20 years in corporate flying before embarking on an airline career 11 years ago, the insufficiency in standardization as well as safety programs and issues on the corporate side has become glaringly apparent to me. It is also quite astounding that the FAA pays so little attention to part 91 operations as it relates to these insufficiencies. Here's an example: No rest or suplemental crew rules for part 91 operations in large jet aircraft that can fly for over 10 hours.

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