In addition to much healthier sales, GAMA had some other good news to share with attendees at its annual industry review and outlook meeting. Despite the high-profile accidents at the end of last year, the NTSB’s preliminary statistics on the number of general aviation accidents last year show a decline of about 8.7 percent. Fatal accidents were down 11.6 percent.
A meeting late last month between the FAA’s top regulatory officials and business aviation interests will likely result in renewed emphasis on new and existing aviation safety programs rather than any sweeping regulatory changes. The meeting came in the aftermath of six fatal turbine business aircraft accidents since late October.
Much has been written lately about the potential cost of not de-icing a business airplane before attempting to fly it, so we posed the question recently in our AINalerts twice-weekly electronic news bulletin, “What about the cost of de-icing? The price seems to vary wildly. What is the most you have paid to have a business jet de-iced? What type of airplane was it, which facility de-iced it, and what were the circumstances?”
A Raytheon Beech T-34 Mentor crashed on December 7 when the left wing snapped off about four inches inboard of the root attach point. The Mentor was being operated by Texas Air Aces/Aviation Safety Training (AST) and crashed near Houston Hooks Field, killing the flight instructor and front-seat passenger. AST’s mission was emergency upset training for major flight departments around the U.S.
U.S.-registered turbine business aircraft accident numbers were mixed last year, according to aviation safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla. The total number of accidents was down slightly last year compared to 2005, thanks mostly to the turboprop sector, which saw a 17.5-percent reduction.
Last month this column looked at safety management systems (SMS) and considered why the industry is embracing them. This month focus shifts to the key elements of such systems and their contribution to the industry’s livelihood.
Total business aviation accidents were down slightly in 2006, thanks mainly to a decrease of more than 17 percent in turboprop accidents, according to aviation safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla. Total business aviation-related fatal accidents, on the other hand, were up in 2006 with 19.
The NTSB determined today that the Feb. 16, 2005 crash of a Circuit City Cessna Citation 560 during the approach to Pueblo Memorial Airport, Colo., was caused because during the approach, as they flew through a cloud containing supercooled liquid droplets, the flight crew didn’t activate the deicing boots at the first sign of ice buildup (as specified in the AFM) and possibly not at all, and didn’t monitor airspeed, which led to a stall.
An ongoing investigation into the August 10 fatal crash of an S-76C+ in the Baltic Sea has led the NTSB to ask the FAA to take “urgent” action on several recommendations. Flight-data recordings show that the twin-turbine helicopter “pitched up and rolled to the left, followed by a series of rotations to the right before striking the water,” killing all 14 aboard.
In its determination of the probable cause of the PenAir Caravan crash, the Safety Board also said that a factor contributing to the accident “was the lack of a preflight inspection requirement to examine at close range the upper surface of the wing for ice contamination when ground icing conditions exist.” Such a requirement is now on the books, the result of an AD issued in March following an FAA investigation into incidents involving Carava