Despite a rash of accidents in June involving U.S.-registered turbine business airplanes, there were fewer fatalities in the first six months of this year than in the same period last year, according to safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla.
Aviation accidents and incidents
The pilot of a Mitsubishi MU-2 that crashed shortly after takeoff from Portland-Hillsboro (Ore.) Airport in May last year had falsified his records, according to the NTSB's factual report. After the accident, which killed all four aboard, the NTSB found two sets of FAA records, the first for Michael McCartney, whose Social Security number ended in 0866.
The NTSB is sending investigators to Brazil to assist in the investigation of the September 29 midair between a Boeing 737 and an Embraer Legacy 600. NTSB senior investigator William English will serve as the U.S. accredited representative, accompanied by two Safety Board investigators and representatives from the FAA and Boeing.
The NTSB is focusing its resources for general aviation accident investigation on four “broad GA safety issue areas,” Safety Board chairman Mark Rosenker said in a speech yesterday at the General Aviation Air Safety Investigators Advanced Technical Workshop in Wichita.
In the last 10 years, business aviation safety has improved dramatically. During this period, the entire industry has been the subject of numerous equipment and procedural requirements intended to reduce accidents. But have these requirements indeed improved safety or were they just financial, maintenance and procedural headaches for the thousands of operators who were forced to comply?
The NTSB reports that in the two most recent Mitsubishi MU-2 fatal accidents, the wings separated in flight. On August 26, the pilot and his wife were killed when their MU-2 crashed near Ormond Beach, Fla. N171MA was on an IFR flight plan from Bloomington, Ind., to Grand Harbor, Bahamas. According to the Safety Board, the pilot reported that he couldn’t hold altitude after he deviated to avoid thunderstorms.
Raytheon 390 Premier I, North Las Vegas, May 27, 2004–A routine weather report advised that the wind was from 160 degrees at 15 knots gusting to 20 four minutes before Premier N5010X landed on Runway 7 at North Las Vegas Airport (VGT) and overran the runway.
Boeing 737-8EH and Embraer EMB 135BJ Legacy 600, Peixoto Azevedo, Brazil, Sept. 29, 2006–Legacy N600XL, operated by ExcelAire, was involved in a midair collision with GOL Flight 1907, a Boeing 737, at about 37,000 feet. The Embraer landed at Cachimbo Air Base; none of the seven people aboard was injured. The 737, en route to Brasilia, crashed in the jungle and all six crew members and 149 passengers were killed.
Mark Rosenker was sworn in as the 11th chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board on August 11 after serving as acting chairman since March 2005. A major general in the Air Force Reserve, he was deputy assistant to the President and director of the White House Military Office before becoming a member of the NTSB in March 2003.
A U.S. congressman is raising a fundamental question about the Mitsubishi MU-2. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) is convinced that the airplane has a “shockingly high accident rate” and appears to be concerned that no one in the government took his advice last year that the airplane be grounded.