...On Heels Of Other BizAv Crashes...

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The Feb. 2 Challenger crash is the latest in a series of other accidents, another of which also involved a Challenger. On Nov. 28, a chartered Challenger 601-2A12 was destroyed when it impacted terrain during the takeoff roll from the Montrose (Colo.) Regional Airport. Two died. Also in November, a chartered Gulfstream G-III crashed on approach to Houston's William P. Hobby Airport at the end of a positioning flight to pick up former president George H.W. Bush; all three aboard were killed. And, in October, a Beech King Air 200 crashed into a mountain while attempting an approach to the Blue Ridge Airport in Martinsville, Va. All 10 aboard the turboprop died. About the only thing these crashes have in common, however, is that they all resulted in substantial press attention, with the general media both critiquing business aviation safety and suggesting that anything other than a scheduled airliner is unsafe. And that kind of media attention gets the FAA involved, which is resulting in the planned Feb. 18 meeting. For 2004, the NTSB's statistics show traditional corporate aviation to have chalked up a slightly worse accident record when compared with 2003 -- four accidents in 2004 resulting in 10 fatalities versus three in 2003, with "only" two people killed. For on-demand charter operations conducted under Part 135, however, the picture is mixed: In 2004, there were 68 crashes, resulting in 65 fatalities. While there were 75 crashes of on-demand charters in 2003, only 42 died.