In its latest update, issued last month, the NTSB said the number of people killed in all aviation accidents last year dropped to 616 from 652 in 2004. Airline fatalities increased from 14 to 22, while Part 135 deaths dropped sharply from 64 in 2004 to 18 last year. Part 91 fatalities last year ticked up slightly to 562 from 558 in 2004. Foreign/unregistered aircraft contributed to the difference, with 16 fatalities in 2004 and 14 in 2005.
According to safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla., in the first six months of this year the U.S. business jet and turboprop fleet experienced 33 accidents, one more than during the same period last year. While the number of fatal accidents remained at nine each year, fatalities more than doubled from 16 in the first half of last year to 36 this year.
December is the month that aviation honors the Wright brothers for their contributions to aviation, and we certainly all owe them for what they accomplished. However, there was another person at Kitty Hawk who made a great contribution toward powered flight. Lest he be forgotten, I thought a little history would help inform those who might not be aware of Charles Taylor and his many accomplishments.
Acorn Growth Equities of Oklahoma City has acquired privately held King Air modification firm Commuter Air Technology. The Arizona-based firm is known for its Catpass (commuter air technology passenger and safety system) modification, which increases King Air payload capacity to enable the turboprop twin to be used in regional airline and corporate shuttle service.
Transportation Department Inspector General Kenneth Mead last month called for renewed emphasis to reduce the general aviation accident rate, noting that the number of fatalities and accidents has remained fairly constant over the past few years.
All six people aboard a King Air 200 that crashed in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., on February 3 were killed. Witnesses told the NTSB that N266EB, operating under Part 91, had made an initial approach to Runway 23 at Grand Strand Airport and “fishtailed” about 20 feet above the runway.
NTSB preliminary statistics for last year show an increase in aviation accidents for airline and general aviation operations and a decline for on-demand air taxis. The NTSB said there were 1,669 accidents last year involving GA aircraft compared with 1,617 in 2004. The 562 fatalities involved in GA accidents were four more than during the previous year. The NTSB also reported higher GA rates (accidents per 100,000 flight hours).
While at first it seemed hard to reconcile the rather dark and anxious mood of last year’s RAA Convention in Cincinnati with double-digit profit margins and record revenues, by the end of the three-day event it became clear to everyone what regional airline executives had seen coming for years.
Which type of public air-transport service is safest–mainline, regional or low-cost carrier (LCC)? It might be a surprise, given possible assumptions about the perceived priorities at the various carrier types, that a recent report suggests the LCCs are safest.
Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla., has released its 2005 turbine business aircraft accident review. The 500-page report, available for $330, includes historical safety data as well as details of “each accident and incident reported worldwide” involving business jets, turboprops and turbine helicopters.