Runway excursions remained a top accident type for corporate jets in 2022, however, for the second year in a row, turbulence eclipsed that category for airliners, according to the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) 2022 Safety Report. FSF’s report analyzes accidents in its Aviation Safety Network database for 2022 involving passenger and cargo airline flights and corporate jet flights of all mission types.
In 2022, the database logged 35 corporate jet accidents, down from 40 in 2021 but above the 31.6 yearly average between 2017-2021, a time that included the Covid pandemic. Of the 2022 accidents, 10 were involved in private operations, seven in executive operations, five in ferry/positioning operations, and five in nonscheduled passenger operations.
The majority of the accidents (20) occurred during landing. Five accidents were fatal, resulting in 17 fatalities. FSF termed the worst of the fatal accidents the June 22 crash of a Learjet 55C on approach to Charallave-Óscar Machado Zuloaga Airport in Venezuela that killed six passengers and crew.
In looking at accident categories, FSF said, “Runway excursions were, by far, the most common accident type in corporate jet operations in 2022, accounting for 17 of the accidents.” This was followed by loss of control, gear up/landing gear collapse, and ground damage.
As for airliners, FSF found that after turbulence, runway excursions and ground damage followed as the most frequent accident types. FSF noted that this marks a recent shift from when runway excursions led the categories.
According to FSF’s database, for airlines there were 22 turbulence-related accidents last year, followed by 16 runway excursions and 14 ground-related events. In all, airliners were involved in 115 accidents worldwide, 16 of which were fatal and resulting in 233 fatalities. “The number of turbulence-related accidents is likely just a small fraction of the turbulence events that operators experience during any given year,” said Foundation president and CEO Hassan Shahidi.
In the report, FSF issued a call to action to continually improve safety and focus on risk areas surrounding turbulence, runway incursions/excursions, CFIT, loss of control, and ground accidents.
As it issued the report, FSF also released an interactive dashboard containing accident data and information from the past six years that is searchable by various parameters, such as type of operation, region of the world, and phase of flight.