US Fixed Wing Air Taxi Accident Analysis

Background

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted a review of Civil Aviation Accidents for the decade of 2001 through to 2010 inclusive.  This related to all Civil Aviation Accidents be it Part 121, Part 135 or General Aviation Accidents. The analysis below relates to the Part 135 Air Taxi Accidents for Fixed Winged Aircraft which were in the review. These Air Taxi accidents made up 84% of all Part 135 Accidents which occurred in 2010. The flights are generally undertaken in controlled airspace but have no limits on entering uncontrolled airspace and unlike scheduled Part 135 operators and not required to report all flight information to the FAA.  

Year 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Fatal Accident 14 14 7 14 8 7 4 12 0 4
Total 46 38 42 42 45 32 34 43 32 21

Table One: US Fixed Winged Air Taxi Accidents from 2001-2010 with their nature.

Mean Number of Accidents 37.5
Mode 2001

Table Two: Mean and Mode for Table One.

Table One above shows the number of total accidents for the time period in the review along with the nature of the accident, i.e. whether it was fatal or non-fatal. From the data we can conclude that the total number of Fixed Winged Air Taxi Accidents have been reducing in the time period peaking at 60 accidents in the first data set of 2001 and being the lowest at the last data set in 2010. This pattern is subsequently reflected in both of the sub categories of fatal and non-fatal accidents. This shows that regulations imposed or created as an safety barrier to avoid air accidents has been working. It also shows that through implementing these we can reduce the number of accidents even more so. Table Two shows the mean and mode of table one. The mean number of accidents in any one year for the ten year spread was 37.5 and the mode for the years was 2001 with 46 accidents.

Fatalities 4
Serious Injuries 1
Aircraft Destroyed 2
Substantial Damage 19
Minor Damage 1

Table Three: 2010 Fixed Winged Air Taxi Accident Descriptions

Table Three above shows how the 22 aircraft accidents in 2010 are distributed with respect to number of lives lost and also aircraft damage. It shows that there were four fatal accidents with only four deaths. Whilst all of the aircraft bar one had either substantial damage or the aircraft was destroyed in the accident.

Phase of Flight Fatal Non-Fatal Total Percentage (%)
Landing 0 5 5 23%
Taxi 0 3 3 14%
Approach 1 3 4 18%
Initial Climb 1 2 3 14%
En route 0 1 1 5%
Take Off 0 2 2 9%
Standing 0 2 2 9%
Maneuvering 1 0 1 5%
Unknown 1 0 1 5%
Total 4 18

Table Four: Phase of Flight of Fixed Wing Air Taxi Accidents in 2010.

The table above shows which part of flight the aircraft accident took place in, as we can see above the mode or phase that caused the most amount of aircraft accidents was landing followed by approach two critical parts in flying an airplane and both involve human factors heavily to undertake.

Defining Event Fatal Non-Fatal Total Percentage (%)
Loss of Control on Ground 0 3 3 14%
Other Collision 1 3 4 18%
Miscellaneous/Other 0 3 3 14%
System/Component Failure 0 2 2 9%
Loss of Control in Flight 1 1 2 9%
Unknown 2 0 2 9%
All Other 0 6 6 27%

Table Five: Defining Event of Fixed Wing Air Taxi Accidents in 2010.

The final table above shows the defining event or what causes the air accident, the highest listed cause or mode for this data is other collision. Although 'all other' was the mode for the total number of accidents it is interesting to see that it does not feature in any fatal aircraft accidents.

Study Scope

This research will assist the NTSB on discovering what determines aircraft accidents and allows funding to be put into research in the appropriate areas to help stop these accidents from occurring.

Methods

Research Approach

The information gathered was in relation to all of the aircraft accidents between 2001 and 2010. This information was readily available as all is catalogued in their system.

Variables

The different things looked at in this investigation were the amount of fatal aircraft accidents along with the amount of non-fatal aircraft accident and also why these occurred and what the aircraft was doing at the time of the accident.

Conclusion

From the data gathered and presented in the tables above it is clear that not one thing is responsible for the aircraft accidents in air taxi fixed wing planes from 2001 through to 2010. It can however be conclude that the number of air accidents occurring has been decreasing over the last decade and I believe this is due to the implantation of policies and legislation in order to improve the safety of the aviation industry.

References

National Transportation Safety Board (2010). Review of U.S. Civil Aviation Accident. https://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2012/ARA1201.pdf

Contributors to this page

Daniel ShieldsDaniel Shields


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