CFIT and Asia main areas of accident concern: survey

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Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) and loss of control were the two main causal factors behind fatal aircraft accidents in 1998, according to a survey by ATI sister-publication Flight International.

The annual review of commercial air transport accidents reveals that five of the jet-powered and eight of the propeller-driven aircraft that suffered fatal crashes were victims of CFIT. Loss of control was cited in 13 accidents.

Apart from the deadly crash of a Swissair Boeing MD-11 in September, major carriers in North America, Western Europe and Australasia suffered no fatal incidents, while Asia continued to bear the brunt of such accidents.

In total, Flight lists 48 accidents which killed 1,244 passengers and crew during 1998. Over the last ten years, the world has suffered an average of 48 accidents and 1,267 fatalities. The worst year was 1996, with 57 accidents and 1,840 deaths.

Taiwan suffered two accidents within a month, involving a China Airlines Airbus A300-600 - which was destroyed in worryingly similar circumstances to an accident in 1994 - and a Formosa Airlines Saab 340.

Ariana Afghan Airlines, Cebu Air Pacific, Lionair, MIAT Mongolian Airlines, Myanmar Airways, Royal Nepal Airlines and Thai Airways International also suffered fatal accidents last year.

Only the catch-all 'flight crew error' was cited as a contributory factor in a greater number of accidents than CFIT, but rarely is an accident the result of a single cause and CFIT crashes almost always have an aircrew error component.

Flight crew error could also mean a direct mistake, failure to follow standard operating procedures or failure to intervene to save the flight.

CFIT not only refers to aircraft hitting high or rising ground but also to collision with level ground such as during approach.

Loss of control was a factor in 13 of the accidents in 1998, killing 364 people. Such accidents are showing a gradual increase, with some ascribing this to a lowering of pilot skills as automation becomes more commonplace in the cockpit.

 

Airline fatal accidents 1998 by category

 

Number of accidents

Number of fatalities

Service category

Scheduled passenger

7

794

Non-scheduled

3

140

Regional/commuter

17

239

Non-passenger

21

71

Total

48

1244

 

 

 

Engine type

 

 

Jet

12

937

Turboprop

32

283

Piston

4

24

 

 

 

Fatal accident by cause

 

 

Flight crew error

30

787

CFIT

13

387

Loss of control

13

364

Weather

11

287

Engine failure/fire

8

62

Operations error

3

42

Structure/systems failure

1

11

Airframe/systems fire

1

229

Source: Flight International, Airclaims CASE

No accidents were attributed to ATC or maintenance error.

 

1998 commercial air transport fatal accidents

Date

Aircraft

Operator

No of passenger fatalities

No of crew fatalities

9 Jan

Caravan

Mountain Air Cargo

-

1

12 Jan

L410UVP Turbolet

Aeroservice International

-

2

27 Jan

F27-600

Myanmar Airways

5

1

2 Feb

DC-9-30

Cebu Pacific Air

99

5

3 Feb

Cessna T207

Precision Air Services

4

1

4 Feb

An-12

Air Luxor

-

7

16 Feb

A300-600R

China Airlines

182

14

21 Feb

Metro II

Ibertrans

-

2

5 Mar

Caravan

Fedex/Baron Aviation

-

1

10 Mar

707-320C

Air Memphis

-

6

18 Mar

Saab 340

Formosa Airlines

8

5

19 Mar

727-200

Ariana Afghan Airlines

35

10

20 Mar

An-32

Peruvian air force

21?

-

31 Mar

Convair 240

Line Are Mexican de Cargo

-

2

7 Apr

Caravan

Fedex/Corporate Air

-

1

20 Apr

727-200Adv

TAME Ecuador

43

10

5 May

737-200

Peruvian air force

69

5

26 May

Harbin Y-12

MIAT Mongolian Airlines

26

2

18 Jun

Metro II

Propair

9

2

7 Jul

Merlin IIB

FS Air Service

-

2

13 Jul

Il-76M

ATI Aircompany

-

8

17 Jul

Il-76M

Air Sofia

-

10?

28 Jul

Metro III

Swiftair

-

2

29 Jul

Bandeirante

Selva Taxi Aereo

4

1

30 Jul

Do228-200

Alliance Air

3

3

30 Jul

1900

Proteus Air System

12

2

11 Aug

An-12

ALADA

-

1

19 Aug

Cessna 402C

Southern Air

4

1

21 Aug

Twin Otter 300

Lumbini Airways

15

3

23 Aug

Cessna 402C

Cardinal Airlines

10

1

24 Aug

F27-600

Myanmar Airways

40?

4?

24 Aug

Turbo DC-3

Airworld

-

1

29 Aug

Tu-154M

Cubana

58?

14

2 Sep

MD-11

Swissair

215

14

25 Sep

BAe 146-100

Paukn Air

34

4

28 Sep

Twin Otter 300

TACV

1

-

29 Sep

An-24RV

Lionair

49

6

1 Oct

DC-3

Servivensa

-

1

21 Oct

Brasilia

Taxi Aereo Capital

-

2

6 Nov

King Air

Tawakal Airlines

-

3

11 Nov

An-12

Nyurba Air Enterprise

-

13

17 Nov

Cessna 207

Paradise Air

7

2

19 Nov

Pilatus Porter

Royal Nepal Airlines

-

1

23 Nov

Caravan

Regency Express

-

2

28 Nov

Dash 7

DNK Aviation Leasing

-

2

6 Dec

King Air

Dogus Air

-

2

7 Dec

Islander

Air Satellite

6

1

11 Dec

A310-200

Thai Airways International

91

11

Source: Flight International, Airclaims CASE

Two further fatal accidents were the result of hostile action and are therefore not included in the overall figures.

A Congo Airlines 727-100 was shot down, probably by a surface to air missile hitting an engine, on 10 October near Kindu, Democratic Republic of Congo, with the loss of 41 passengers and three crew.

On 26 December a Transafrik Lockheed Hercules operated on behalf of the United Nations was shot down near Huambo, Angola killing four crew and ten passengers.