Although child restraints on airplanes have been on the NTSB’s list of most wanted safety improvements for almost a decade, the agency last month reclassified the FAA’s response–or lack thereof–to the recommendation from “open-acceptable action” to “open-unacceptable response.”
Aviation accidents and incidents
Contrary to a popular misconception, most aircraft accidents are survivable. This fact has been documented by the NTSB, which analyzed Part 121 accidents in the U.S. between 1983 and 2000 involving at least one fatality or serious injury in which aircraft were substantially damaged. In the 568 such mishaps studied by the Board, 95.7 percent of the accident aircraft occupants lived.
In one of its longest investigations into a general aviation accident, the NTSB released its final report last month on the Oct. 10, 2000, crash of a Canadian-registered Bombardier Challenger 604 during a manufacturer’s test flight at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. The two pilots and flight engineer died as a result of injuries sustained from the accident.
CESSNA 441, BIRMINGHAM, ALA., DEC. 10, 2003–Cessna N441W, registered to and operated by Warrington Development, crashed shortly after takeoff from Birmingham International Airport (BHM) at about 2:20 p.m. N441W was on a Part 91 flight in IMC operating on an IFR flight plan. The ATP-rated pilot and passenger were both killed when the aircraft crashed eight minutes after leaving BHM for Venice, Fla.
CESSNA 441, GREENACRES CITY, FLA., DEC. 30, 2003–Cessna N111RC crashed into a lake at about 11:15 a.m. in a residential area of Greenacres City, killing the sole occupant and destroying the aircraft. The aircraft was on a Part 91 flight in VMC and was not on a flight plan. N111RC’s flight originated from Boca Raton Airport (BCT), Fla., approximately 30 minutes before the accident.
Responding to an NTSB reiteration for cockpit voice recorder (CVR) installations in all new turbine-powered aircraft, the National Air Transportation Association said it cannot support the recommendations because there has been no cost-benefit analysis or assessment of the impact on small business.
The final report of the Oct. 8, 2001 collision between a Citation II and a Scandinavian Airline System MD-87 at Italy’s Milan-Linate Airport said the immediate cause of the crash, which killed 114 people aboard both jets and four ground workers, was that the Citation inadvertently entered the active runway as the airliner was reaching V1 on its takeoff roll.
Aviation safety pioneer Jerome “Jerry” Lederer died February 6 at the age of 101 in Laguna Hills, Calif., of congestive heart failure. His lifelong dedication to preventing accidents made travel safer for everyone who flies aboard civilian aircraft.
The number of accidents in all segments of civil aviation last year was less than in 2005, according to the NTSB, with general aviation having the lowest number of accidents in 40 years of record keeping. Major airlines continued to have the lowest accident rates in civil aviation. Last year, on-demand Part 135 operators had 54 accidents, down almost 20 percent from 2005, with 10 of those accidents resulting in 16 fatalities.
Airplane accidents usually cause harm beyond the grief they bring to the families of those lost, and the spate of business aircraft crashes late last year is proving collectively to be no exception. As the toll kept rising, business aviation gained ever more unfavorable prominence in the media.