Fewer Flights, Higher Accident Rate
We flew less but we crashed proportionately more in 2002, according to a new report by the NTSB. There were actually 12 fewer GA accidents in 2002 (1,714) compared to 2001 (1,726) but because we spent less time in the air, the accident rate actually jumped from 6.28 per 100,000 hours to 6.56. Despite fewer hours, there were more fatal accidents in 2002 (343) compared to 2001 (325). The trends were opposite in Part 121 and Part 135 operations. Departures increased in both nonscheduled (Part 121) and scheduled flights with fewer than 10 seats (Part 135) and so did the accident rates. The Part 121 accident rate almost doubled to 2.33 per 100,000 departures, from 1.248 in 2001. The rate for Part 135 operators jumped to 1.575 per 100,000 departures from 1.251. Air taxis bucked that trend with substantially fewer accidents (72 vs. 58) and the accident rate dropped from 2.27 per 100,000 flight hours to 1.9. Fatalities dropped from 60 to 33. As AVweb reported earlier, the scheduled carriers had no fatalities in 2002. They had 34 accidents and the accident rate dropped from .379 per 100,000 departures to .337.