The National Transportation Safety Board reported that U.S.civil aviation accidents showed a slight uptick in 2011 over 2010. For a second year in a row, there were no Part 121 accidents. Part 135 on-demand charters did reveal a marked increase, however.
Aviation accidents and incidents
It took a pilot to make one of the first moves in Congress to create one level of safety as part of a 2011 proposal to upgrade Part 121 crew-rest requirements.
Last year’s crash of a modified North American P-51 Mustang, into a crowd of spectators at the Reno National Championship Air Races, claimed the lives of 11 people including the pilot. The aircraft struck the box-seat stands at the south end of the course where 66 more people suffered serious injuries.
The dicey situation in which JetBlue captain Clayton Osbon apparently suffered some kind of mental breakdown while commanding a flight from New York to Las Vegas on March 27 raises some important questions.
Everyone agrees that airlines and major corporations need plans for deploying an emergency response in the event of an accident. The airlines, especially, are acutely aware of the intense media and regulatory scrutiny–and lawsuits–that follow any aviation disaster, especially one that involves substantial loss of life. All major airlines and large corporations have aviation accident response plans. Corporate counsel has seen to that.
A discussion at the NBAA’s International Operators Conference last week raised the issue of the 2006 midair collision between a Boeing 737 and an Embraer Legacy over the Brazilian jungle.
The world breathed a sigh of relief as 2011 came to a close; aviation had experienced two remarkably safe years, following 2009, during which two extraordinary airline accidents focused the public’s attention on what appear to be serious lapses in fundamental airmanship.
Turbine business airplanes operating private and charter flights worldwide logged a substantial increase in accidents and fatalities last year compared with 2010, while fractional operations continued to be one of the safest segments. According to statistics compiled by AIN, total accidents involving U.S.-registered business jets nearly doubled, from 17 in 2010 to 32 last year, and U.S.-registered turboprop accidents jumped from 32 in 2010 to 43 last year. The increase in the number of accidents coincides with an increase in the number of business jet flight operations worldwide.
Turbine business airplanes experienced a major increase in accidents last year, compared with 2010. According to statistics compiled by AIN, nonfatal accidents involving U.S.-registered business jets nearly doubled from 16 in 2010 to 31 last year, while U.S.-registered turboprop accidents surged from 32 to 43 year-over-year. In the one fatal jet accident recorded last year, all four crewmembers were killed in the April 2 crash of a Gulfstream G650, which was on a certification test flight; two people had died in the single fatal accident of a business jet in 2010.
The last three months of 2011 saw “the longest period without a fatal airliner accident in modern aviation history,” according to the Aviation Safety Network (ASN), an independent internet aviation safety information agency.