Runway excursions and circle-to-land approach accidents are raising concerns and warrant greater attention and risk mitigation, safety experts from the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) and the FAA reported today at the Business Aviation Safety Summit (BASS) 2022 in Savannah, Georgia. BASS is co-organized by FSF and NBAA.
More than 60 years of data covering 796 accidents involving 1,498 fatalities shows runway excursions accounted for 30 percent of the mishaps, and they are “growing in proportion, in some years exceeding 50 percent,” said FSF director of safety strategy and policy Henry Gourdji. About one in five excursions occur during the takeoff phase. With the U.S. accounting for more than half of all business aviation accidents (about 51 percent), Flight Operational Quality Assurance data from GE presented in a subsequent session revealed that most excursions occur in June, July, and August, when contributing factors such as ice or snow are absent.
Addressing circle-to-land operations, NTSB national resource specialist and senior accident investigator David Lawrence recounted the Challenger 605 and Learjet 35 repositioning flight accidents last year in Truckee and El Cajon, California, respectively. Both involved highly experienced crews, in reduced visibility, and the crashes occurred while making tight turns to align with the runway on final approach. Lawrence noted Part 135 operators have accounted for 16 accidents while circling to land, 12 of which involved fatalities and serious injuries.