First Half U.S. Turbine Accident Fatalities Decline

 - July 5, 2018, 10:06 AM

Fatalities from accidents of U.S.-registered business jets and turboprops declined in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. According to statistics researched by AIN, three persons died in two crashes of N-numbered business jets in the first six months of 2017 versus one accident that was fatal to the sole occupant in the first six months of this year.

On April 15, 2018, at about 9 p.m. local time, a Cessna Citation 525 was destroyed after it hit terrain near Crozet, Virginia. The private pilot was killed. The NTSB reports that the aircraft was operated by an individual under Part 91 as a personal flight. Night IMC prevailed, but there was no flight plan filed.

According to preliminary ATC data, the light twinjet departed Chesterfield County Airport, Richmond, Virginia, around 8:35 p.m. destined for Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, Weyers Cave, Virginia. At 8:40 the airplane reached a maximum altitude of 11,500 feet msl but then started to descend. Four minutes later, it leveled off at about 4,300 feet and remained at that altitude until 8:53, when it began a descending left turn. Radar contact was lost a minute later.

All three fatal jet accidents for both the 2017 and 2018 six-month periods occurred under Part 91.

The number of nonfatal jet accidents under Part 91 remained unchanged at three in the first six months of both 2017 and 2018. Air-taxi jet operators incurred one nonfatal mishap in the first six months versus none in the previous comparable period. There were no reports of any accidents or incidents involving Part 91K fractional operators in the two timeframes. The only other nonfatal crash in the first half of this year occurred on June 26. An FAA Learjet 60 suffered substantial damage when a brake caught fire while taxiing for departure.

Meanwhile, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada completed its investigation of last year’s serious incident that resulted in substantial damage to a U.S.-registered Bombardier Global Express. (See Accidents, page 58.)

Significantly, there was only one accident (nonfatal) in the second quarter of this year involving N-numbered business turboprops. But in the first quarter, three propjet accidents claimed the lives of seven people. In the first quarter of last year, 12 people were killed in five turboprop accidents. The number of nonfatal U.S.-registered turboprop accidents plunged from 13 in January through June 2017 to two this year. In the first half of this year, turboprops flying under Part 135 had one mishap versus five nonfatal and two fatal accidents in the first half of last year.

Non-U.S.-registered Jet Fatalities                  

A substantial uptick in fatal non-U.S.-registered business jet accidents has occurred already this year. In the first six months of 2017, two people were killed in a single accident versus 12 people who lost their lives in two accidents in the same period this year. However, the March 11, 2018 crash of a privately operated Turkish-registered Bombardier Challenger 604 accounted for all but one of those who were killed in the current first half.

Among noteworthy incidents in the first six months of this year is a mishap that occurred on May 3 and resulted in substantial damage. On a descending right turn from base to final, the pilot of a privately operated South African registered Dassault Falcon 900EX increased the bank angle to avoid an overshoot, and the right wing brushed the top of a tall tree. Then, while the crew was correcting for drift from a right crosswind just before touchdown, the left wingtip scraped the runway. The consequent damage required replacing the slats, ailerons, and wingtips on both wings.

Non-N-numbered business turboprops improved their fatal accident record year-over-year. In the first six months of last year, 20 people died in six crashes compared to 15 fatalities in three accidents in the first six months of this year. Nonfatal mishaps involving this segment decreased from 15 in the first half of 2017 to 10 in this year’s first half.

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AIN 2018 August Accident Report (33K)

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