No fatal accident involving Part 121 or 135 scheduled carriers occurred in 2002, versus three last year in which 24 people died, according to NTSB data. The crash of an Air Midwest Beech 1900 in Charlotte, N.C., accounted for 21 of those fatalities. More serious crashes by air-taxi operations raised their total and fatal accidents per 100,000 flight hours from 2.03 to 2.61, and 0.62 to 0.64, respectively, in 2002 and 2003.
Aviation accidents and incidents
Cessna Citation 550, Butler, Pa., Jan. 24, 2007–The NTSB has released more information about the Citation 550 that ran off the runway while landing at Butler County Airport in Pennsylvania. The copilot was flying the medical flight from the left seat. Aside from a problem with the autopilot’s altitude hold, which oscillated around the selected altitude, the ATP-rated pilot and copilot reported normal flight.
Raytheon Beech King Air 200, Belgrade, Mont., Feb. 6, 2007–The EMS flight was on an IFR flight plan, en route to Gallatin Field, Belgrade, to pick up a patient. BZN was VFR and the pilot requested a visual approach to Runway 12. After he was cleared for the approach, ATC lost contact.
The NTSB continues its investigation into the April 14 crash of a 1985 King Air 300 while being vectored in VMC to Spruce Creek Airport, a private residential airport community south of Daytona Beach, Fla. One of two occupants suffered serious injuries and the turboprop twin was destroyed when it crash landed in a field.
Israel Aircraft Industries 1124 Westwind, Tocumen, Panama, July 2, 2004–Westwind N280AT, operated by Air Trek as a Part 135 air ambulance flight, crashed into a building shortly after takeoff from the Tocumen International Airport. The airplane was destroyed and all six occupants were killed. A seventh person on the ground was also killed. VMC prevailed, and an IFR flight plan had been filed.
Although child restraints on airplanes have been on the NTSB’s list of most wanted safety improvements for almost a decade, the agency last month reclassified the FAA’s response–or lack thereof–to the recommendation from “open-acceptable action” to “open-unacceptable response.”
Contrary to a popular misconception, most aircraft accidents are survivable. This fact has been documented by the NTSB, which analyzed Part 121 accidents in the U.S. between 1983 and 2000 involving at least one fatality or serious injury in which aircraft were substantially damaged. In the 568 such mishaps studied by the Board, 95.7 percent of the accident aircraft occupants lived.
In one of its longest investigations into a general aviation accident, the NTSB released its final report last month on the Oct. 10, 2000, crash of a Canadian-registered Bombardier Challenger 604 during a manufacturer’s test flight at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. The two pilots and flight engineer died as a result of injuries sustained from the accident.
CESSNA 441, BIRMINGHAM, ALA., DEC. 10, 2003–Cessna N441W, registered to and operated by Warrington Development, crashed shortly after takeoff from Birmingham International Airport (BHM) at about 2:20 p.m. N441W was on a Part 91 flight in IMC operating on an IFR flight plan. The ATP-rated pilot and passenger were both killed when the aircraft crashed eight minutes after leaving BHM for Venice, Fla.
CESSNA 441, GREENACRES CITY, FLA., DEC. 30, 2003–Cessna N111RC crashed into a lake at about 11:15 a.m. in a residential area of Greenacres City, killing the sole occupant and destroying the aircraft. The aircraft was on a Part 91 flight in VMC and was not on a flight plan. N111RC’s flight originated from Boca Raton Airport (BCT), Fla., approximately 30 minutes before the accident.