US association fears data gives false picture by presenting business aviation as unsafe
The US National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is concerned that business and corporate aviation is being presented as unsafe, because the 2004 accident statistics released by business aircraft safety consultancy Robert Breiling Associates shows more fatal accidents involving business jet types than in 2003.
Last year in the USA there were four accidents involving business jet types, Breiling says, but the NBAA points out these were air taxi flights operating under US Part 135 rules, not business jets operating under Part 91 regulations governing corporate operators.
In 2003 there were two Part 91 jet accidents, but fewer accidents involving business jets overall, according to Boca Raton, Florida-based Breiling, which compiles a comprehensive summary of turbine business aircraft accidents and incidents across all operating sectors.
The consultancy says there were fewer fatal accidents and fatalities last year involving turbine-powered business aircraft than in the previous 12 months. The statistics reveal 19 fatal accidents and 53 fatalities in 2004 compared with 25 accidents resulting in 57 deaths the year before. There were no 2004 accidents during Part 91 business jet operations, and only one involving a two-pilot business turboprop in which both the pilots and eight passengers were killed.
Business aviation safety was highlighted again early this year as a result of the continuing investigation into a 28 November Bombardier Challenger 600 accident on take-off from Montrose County airport, Colorado.
The US National Transportation Safety Board recently issued a warning to all pilots about the dangers of taking off with even slight icing on the upper wings of all types.
DAVID LEARMOUNT / LONDON
Source: Flight International