...But BizAv Defends Its Record

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The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) quickly responded to the scrutiny, sending President Ed Bolen out for interviews with the media and publishing a document on its Web site with details of "Business Aviation's Excellent Safety Record," debunking mainstream analyses, and noting that 2003 was the safest year ever for business aviation. An ABC News story on Monday reported that the fatal accident rate of "corporate aviation is 2.5 times greater than the major airlines ... [and] the fatal accident rate for charters ... is more than 50 times higher than that of the commercial airlines." The NBAA says those numbers are based on statistics that lump together many different kinds of aircraft. For aircraft flown by a professional crew, the fatal accident rate is very low, nearly the same as for the airlines, the NBAA said. And for turbine-powered charter aircraft the fatal accident rate is about one-tenth of what was reported by ABC News. "When compared with other forms of travel, charter is an exceptionally safe option," the NBAA said. In 2003, all airplanes and helicopters professionally flown for corporate/executive use under FAR Part 91 were involved in two accidents, including one fatal accident resulting in two fatalities, the NBAA said. There were no accidents involving corporate/executive-operated jets or turboprops piloted by professional crews. One may wonder how things might have been different had the names involved in Sunday's most reported accident been less familiar.