There are typically fewer business jet accidents each year than turboprop mishaps and that distinction didn’t change last year. Unchanged also, for the second year in a row, there were no fatal accidents involving Part 91 corporate jets flown by salaried pilots. In fact, professionally flown Part 91 business jets were involved in only one non-fatal accident last year.
The FAA has finally released its study of Part 135 air-taxi operators, mandated by Congress more than four years ago in the Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR-21). Because it took the agency four years to publish the report–in part because of 9/11–the charter industry is questioning the value of the data.
In another effort to help reduce accidents, NATA is developing a ground-incident safety management system (SMS) that it hopes will merge data on ground-handling accidents from as many as 500 FBOs within two years. Though NATA president James Coyne estimates that such accidents cause $100 million in damage claims annually, there is no data readily available on the details.
Accidents involving aircraft on airport ramps remain one of the most expensive sources of claims for insurance companies. Efforts to curtail such losses have taken a new turn with a three-way cooperative program that teams the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), United States Aircraft Insurance Group (USAIG) and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU).
A New Zealand air ambulance trust has bought a second Sikorsky S-76 to meet a growing demand for emergency medical flights in Auckland. The Northland Emergency Services Trust expects the helicopter to enter service at its Whangarei base in the first quarter of this year.
San Diego’s city council voted unanimously to extend the lease on its fire helicopter for six months. The Bell 212HP is operated by the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, but paid for by the county.
After calling on European Union (EU) member states last year to align their operating rules more closely with those of the FAA, the U.S.-based General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has formed a joint industry committee to draft recommendations and submit them to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
A Raytheon Beech T-34 Mentor crashed on December 7 when the left wing snapped off about four inches inboard of the root attach point. The Mentor was being operated by Texas Air Aces/Aviation Safety Training (AST) and crashed near Houston Hooks Field, killing the flight instructor and front-seat passenger. AST’s mission was emergency upset training for major flight departments around the U.S.
A Pilatus PC-12 that lost power at an altitude of about 6,000 feet made a deadstick landing December 14 on four-lane Highway 933 North in the midst of a commercial area of Roseland, Ind., about three miles east of South Bend Airport. The turboprop single, with a pilot and four passengers aboard, was damaged when it clipped a utility pole, but no one was hurt in the incident.
The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) released its final report on the 2002 crash of a Swearingen SA227-AC Metroliner III at Aberdeen Airport, Scotland. The accident followed failure of the right engine shortly after takeoff.