The number of fatalities from U.S.-registered business jet accidents last year fell by more than 50 percent compared with 2014, one of the worst years on record for fatal crashes. There were also fewer fatalities last year than the near record level in 2011. According to preliminary data researched by AIN, 13 people perished in two fatal accidents involving N-numbered business jets last year compared with 30 in six crashes in 2014. Nine people died in one of the two fatal crashes last year when on December 4 a Hawker 125-700 on a Part 135 flight crashed while on approach to Akron-Fulton Airport in Ohio. The other fatal business jet accident last year was the August 16 midair between a Sabreliner (on a Part 91 contract flight for the military) and a Cessna 172 near San Diego. Four people died in the jet and one in the Skyhawk.
Meanwhile, the number of nonfatal mishaps last year was up threefold, to 18 last year from six in 2014. One of last year’s incidents involved a SyberJet (née Sino Swearingen) SJ30 belonging to actor Morgan Freeman. On December 5 the small twinjet, operating under Part 91, ran off the runway after diverting because of a blown tire on takeoff and a reported hydraulic problem. Last year 15 aircraft operating under Part 91 were involved in nonfatal accidents, compared with one each under Part 91K, Part 135 and public-use. In 2014 there were five nonfatal bizjet accidents under Part 91 and one under Part 135.
Non-U.S.-registered business jets also met with more nonfatal accidents last year (11) than in 2014 (four). Year over year, the number of fatal crashes remained at five, but the number of fatalities climbed by one, to 20 last year. One of those crashes last year was the first fatal accident involving an Eclipse VLJ. The pilot was killed on December 7 when his South African-registered EA500 entered an uncontrolled descent from cruising altitude and crashed. An oxygen system failure is one of the possibilities being investigated.
In contrast to the business jet segment, turboprops worldwide met with more accidents and more fatalities last year than in 2014. According to the preliminary data, 28 people died in 10 crashes involving N-numbered business turboprops last year versus 24 deaths in nine crashes in 2014. Last year there was one Part 135 fatal (killing nine people), compared with no Part 135 fatal crashes in 2014. There were no accidents or incidents involving Part 91K turboprops.
Twelve crashes of non-N-numbered turboprops killed 43 people last year, up from 35 deaths in eight accidents in 2014. In one non-U.S.-registered turboprop accident alone last year, 10 people were killed: after the crew reported an unspecified problem, the King Air B200 belonging to India’s Border Security Forces crashed on December 22 while attempting to return to the airport.