U.S. civil aviation accident fatalities increased from 347 in 2017 to 393 in 2018, according to preliminary statistics released last week by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Last year saw the nation’s first airline passenger fatality since 2009, when a passenger was killed on a Southwest airliner that suffered an engine failure.
As usual, most aviation deaths last year took place during general aviation operations. In 2018 381 were killed, compared with 331 the year before. The fatal accident rate in general aviation was 1.029 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, an increase from 2017’s rate of 0.935. The NTSB’s GA accident statistics include private, personal, business, sightseeing, flight instruction and other training, and all other operations under Part 91.
Accidents involving on-demand Part 135 operations, encompassing charters, air taxis, air tours, and medical services (when a patient is on board), claimed 12 lives, down from 16 in 2017. Consequently, the fatal accident rate for on-demand Part 135 operations decreased slightly, to 0.156 fatal accidents in 2018 compared with 0.199 in 2017.
In its annual report, the NTSB divides the number of accidents into operational segments but does not separate by engine type—turbine or non-turbine. According to AIN’s annual tally, there were 10 fatalities from business jet operations last year versus three in 2017. Sixteen people died in business turboprop accidents in 2018 compared with 20 in 2017.