Fatal accidents worldwide involving business jets and turboprops were up 42.8 percent year-over-year in the first nine months while fatalities climbed by 43.5 percent, according to data compiled by AIN. There were 20 fatal accidents involving business jets and turboprops combined in the first three quarters of this year compared with 14 fatal crashes in the same period last year.
Business jets accounted for much of the spike, logging five fatal accidents that killed 19 in the first three quarters, up from two fatal accidents and four deaths in the same time last year. The number of fatal turboprop accidents rose by three, to 15, and the 47 fatalities were five more than last year.
There were no fatal U.S.-registered business jet accidents in the third quarter of this year, but three people died in two accidents involving U.S.-registered business jets in the first half, compared with two fatalities in one accident in the year-ago span. All were being flown under Part 91.
On March 24, a Citation 500 being flown IFR under Part 91 by a private pilot, the sole person on board, crashed while being radar vectored for an approach to an airport that was not the flight-planned destination. The pilot requested vectoring because his autopilot was not working and he was having "steering problems." Controllers lost contact when the airplane was 15 miles from the airport.
On May 15, a Learjet 35 crashed during the turn for a circling approach into Teterboro. The two pilots were killed on the Part 91 positioning flight from Philadelphia. The aircraft was “less than a mile” from Runway 6 on the ILS approach when it crashed during the right turn for the circling approach to land on Runway 1. Both accidents are under investigation.
Fatal accidents involving non-U.S.-registered business jets also surged, with 16 killed in three crashes, compared with two people who perished in just one accident in the same period last year. On May 17, a Mexican-registered, privately operated Learjet 25 crashed seconds after takeoff, killing the two pilots. On July 4, all nine people aboard a Venezuelan-registered Gulfstream III perished when the aircraft on an official state flight crashed into the sea. Five people lost their lives in another crash into the sea by a Venezuelan-registered jet, a Learjet 25D.
Fatal accidents involving U.S.-registered turboprops doubled from four in the first nine months of last year to eight in the same period this year, and the number of deaths climbed to 17 from 15. This year, two of the fatal accidents occurred under Part 135 compared with one Part 135 fatal crash last year. Part 91 accounted for the remainder.
Fatal crashes involving non-U.S.-registered business turboprops declined year-over-year by one, to seven, but fatalities jumped by three, to 30.