Thursday, April 2, 2009

2008 accident statistics

The 2008 aviation accident statistics are out and things are, well, so-so. General aviation is still killing people at about the same rate. I think late last year I put up statistics about RVs which showed no significant change in the accident rate. Here's the NTSB news release:

Washington, DC - The National Transportation Safety Board
today released preliminary aviation accident statistics for
the 2008 calendar year, showing improvements in some
industry sectors but increased accident rates in others.

"While the overall aviation safety record in the United
States is among the best in the world, the 2008 accident
statistics reveal a mixed picture," said NTSB Acting
Chairman Mark V. Rosenker. "We are particularly concerned
with the spike in fatalities in on-demand air charter
operations. There's a lot of room for improvement in this
area, and as evidenced by our recent forum on emergency
medical service helicopter accidents, we continue to do
everything we can to identify the safety issues involved,
and to advocate for the adoption of our recommendations that
will make the skies safer."

On-demand flight operations (classified by regulators as
operating under the federal code 14 CFR Part 135), which
include air medical, air taxi and air tour flights, logged
over 3.6 million flight hours and had 56 accidents, killing
66 people - the highest number of fatalities since 2000;
there were 43 fatalities in 2007. The accident rate per
100,000 flight hours (1.52) remained virtually unchanged
from 2007 (1.54).

The number of accidents involving large commercial carriers
(Part 121) was 28 in both 2008 and 2007. In both scheduled
and non-scheduled services, the airlines carried 753 million
passengers on over 10.8 million flights without a passenger

In 2008, commuter airlines (also operating under Part 135 in
the federal code) that typically fly smaller turboprop
aircraft made 581,000 flights, logging over 290,000 hours.
These operators had seven accidents, none of which resulted
in fatalities. This is an increase from three accidents in

In general aviation, there were 1,559 accidents, 275 of
which involved fatalities, killing a total of 495 - one
fewer than the previous year. The GA accident rate per
100,000 flight hours was 7.11, up from 6.92 in 2007. In the
last 20 years, the highest accident rate was 9.08 in 1994;
the lowest rate was 6.33 in 2006.

Federal legislation defines an aircraft accident as an
occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft
which takes place between the time any person boards the
aircraft with the intention of flight and all such persons
have disembarked, and in which any person suffers death or
serious injury, or in which the aircraft receives
substantial damage.

Here are the statistical tables.

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