Board members also made observations in two reports into accidents involving Bombardier Learjet businss jets operating under Part 91 rules. On 23 December 2003 a Pavair Learjet 24B went out of control for an undetermined reason, the NTSB says, and impacted the ground in a high-speed dive, killing both pilots. Board members expressed their concern that under Part 91 there is no background check on the owner/operator of the aircraft. “Apparently this same individual was granted permission by the FAA to operate under the name AFTA, after a previous accident, at the same time as he was being investigated for other illegal activities to which he subsequently pleaded guilty.”

On 24 October 2004, a Med Flight Air Ambulance Learjet 35A crashed into high ground while following air traffic control clearance after take-off from San Bernardino airport, California (Flight International, 6-12 June). All five people on board were killed. The controller was warned twice by his minimum safe altitude warning system that the aircraft was in danger, but ignored it. Fatigue in the flight crew was mentioned as a factor in the report but board-member comment following the report remarks at the lack of recommendations concerning controller fatigue despite the fact that the duty controller had “worked an 8h shift the day before the accident, and returned 7.5h later, without any sleep, to work through the midnight shift”.

Source: Flight International