The total combined number of fixed-wing aircraft accidents, incidents and fatalities declined for the U.S.-registered and non-U.S.-registered turbine business aircraft fleet in the first three months of this year versus the same period last year, according to data compiled by AIN. Some individual segments were inconsistent with the overall results, however. Specifically, accidents involving U.S.-registered business jets and propjets resulted in 15 fatalities in the first quarter compared with 22 in the same period last year.
Aviation accidents and incidents
As I write this from my seat on a Boeing 777 bound for China, I realize I no longer have the same degree of nonchalance I had on previous long-haul flights. I am aware the airplane, one of the most modern jetliners in the sky, is functioning exactly as intended, the comforting whoosh of its powerful engines omnipresent as it courses smoothly through the air above the Arctic Circle, yet in the back of my mind, thoughts drift to another triple-seven, also China-bound, which more than a month after its disappearance still has given investigators little clue as to where it actually ended up and why.
As the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 entered its fifth week, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) announced Monday that it would convene a special meeting of state and industry experts on the global tracking of airline flights next month.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a number of recommendations to the FAA on April 2 related to flare cueing issues on the Boeing MD-11. The Board said the airliner made 13 hard landings between 1994 and 2010. It wants the FAA and Boeing to determine the effectiveness of new systems to assist MD-11 pilots in making timely and appropriate inputs during the landing flare. The NTSB expects to see a formal report to help determine how useful a new system might be.
Last week the NTSB released a letter it received in mid-March from South Korea’s Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board (KARAIB) claiming that the pilots of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 were not totally responsible for the accident last July at San Francisco International Airport that killed three people and destroyed a Boeing 777.
A Finnish-registered Bombardier Challenger 300 climbing toward St. Petersburg, Russia, experienced an uncommanded pitch-up that injured two of the six people on board. The aircraft had just departed Moscow Sheremetyevo (UUEE) Airport for a charter flight on Dec. 23, 2010 and quickly returned to Moscow, where the injured were taken to hospital.
The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch reported last week that the cause of the March 16 accident in which an Airbus Helicopters EC135T2i crashed into a busy pub in Glasgow is still unknown. “[The] investigation to date has not identified any technical malfunction that might account for the accident.
Accidents in the first quarter involving U.S.-registered turbine business airplanes resulted in 15 fatalities, compared with 22 in the same period last year, even though the corporate jet segment did not reduce its number of fatal and nonfatal accidents. According to data assembled by AIN, five people were killed in two crashes involving N-numbered business jets in the first quarter versus seven in two accidents in the year-ago period–all under Part 91 operations.
“I’m telling you, our plane was like a pharmacy with wings.”
The NTSB’s recent safety alert #033 reminds pilots that without adequate preparation, robust monitoring and position cross-checking using all available resources, flight crews may misidentify a nearby airport that they see during the approach to their destination.