From a safety perspective, last year was not a good year for the air medical sector. A spate of fatal accidents has led to much media speculation about the safety record of U.S. air ambulances and even the medical benefits of using them so (apparently) freely. It has also further tarnished a deteriorating rate apparent in statistics from previous years.
Aviation accidents and incidents
Cockpit voice recorder (CVR) transcripts indicate that the pilots of the Gulfstream III that crashed in IMC November 22 after being cleared for the Runway 4 ILS approach at Houston Hobby Airport had the VOR frequency tuned instead of the ILS. The Part 135 flight was on its way to pick up former President George H.W. Bush. According to the CVR, about 45 seconds before the crash, the pilot said, “Oh my, what’d you do to me?
An NTSB proposal to add to the list of events that must be reported as an accident or incident is getting little support from the industry.
The Corporate Airlines Jetstream 31 that crashed a mile short of the runway while on a night, reduced-visibility localizer approach to Kirksville Regional Airport, Mo., on October 19 evidently stalled.
The list of events that must be reported to the NTSB will grow if the agency adopts proposed changes to NTSB Part 830.
For the first time since 1975, the number of safety recommendations classified as “open” has dipped below 1,000, the NTSB said last month. Of the 989 open recommendations, 335 are related to aviation and 339 to highway transportation.
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.
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.
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.
Landing overruns substantially damaged two Gulfstream IVs and a Falcon 20 in the period between November 29 and December 5. These accidents did not cause any injuries, but they were serious enough to warrant NTSB investigation and they happened around the same time that 23 people were killed in four separate accidents involving corporate jets and a King Air.