GA Safety Record Holds, Charter Mishaps Jump

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General aviation accidents are up but the accident rate and the number of fatal accidents has decreased in the past year, according to statistics released by the NTSB on Friday. The number of GA accidents increased from 1,439 in 2010 to 1,466 in 2011 but the number of fatal accidents dropped from 268 to 263. The total number of fatalities also dropped from 454 to 444. The NTSB says that because the number of flight hours for GA increased in 2011, the accident rate actually dropped. "While the number of general aviation flight hours increased in 2011, the accident rate per 100,000 flight hours decreased from 6.63 in 2010 to 6.51 in 2011," the report says. While GA fared relatively well, on-demand charter operations raised a red flag for the board.

The number of on-demand Part 135 (charter, air taxi, air tour, and air medical) accidents increased from 31 to 50, the number of fatal accidents almost tripled from 6 to 16, and the number of fatalities more than doubled from 17 to 41. By contrast, Part 135 commuter operations recorded only four accidents and none of them were fatal. There were also no fatalities on Part 121 scheduled carriers and only 28 accidents.