The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) accident database recorded no fatal accidents among business jets — registered both inside and outside of the United States — in the first five months of 2022.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been seven nonfatal accidents of U.S. registered business jets, five of which occurred in Q1 and two in Q2.
In the Federal Aviation Regulations, 49 CFR Part 830.2 defines an aircraft accident as an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft that 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 which the aircraft receives substantial damage.
It is positive news that business jet accidents have not resulted in the loss of life so far in 2022, especially after fatal business aviation saw nine fatal accidents in 2021. Ultimately, the number of fatal accidents has continued a downward trend since the early 1990s according to Flight Safety Foundation data, and it looks like this year could be no anomaly.
RELATED: Flight Safety Foundation 2021 Report highlights leading causes of aircraft accidents and how to mitigate them
However, it is essential that business aviation see the number of totaled multi-million-dollar aircraft trend downward and this begins with reducing the number of runway excursions.
Causes of the nonfatal accidents
At least five of the seven accidents that have occurred so far this year were runway excursions in which the aircraft veered off of or overran the runway surface while taking off or landing.
In February, a Hawker 800XP skidded off the runway at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (ASE) after attempting to takeoff. The cause was lack of control pressure. No passengers were injured as a result of the accident. The aircraft was cleared for takeoff on Runway 33 and at the time of their clearance, air traffic control reported winds from 160 at 16 knots, gusting to 25 knots.
RELATED: NTSB preliminary report released for aborted Hawker 800XP takeoff in Aspen
That same month, a Phenom 100 sustained substantial damage on landing at the Detroit City Airport (DET). The sole pilot onboard was not injured and the preliminary report did not delve into detail with any pilot comments, but the conditions at the time were VMC with a broken ceiling at 2,900 feet above ground and winds from 220 at 7 knots.
At the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Airport (AGC), two crew members and one passenger were uninjured after a HondaJet HA-420 departed the runway surface on landing in early March.
RELATED: No injuries after HondaJet goes off runway at Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Airport
In April, a Learjet 45 experienced a runway excursion on landing at Morristown Municipal Airport (MMU) and a Cessna Citation CJ3 slid off the runway after landing at Essex County Airport (CDW).
The trend of runway excursions
While it is not common for a runway excursion to be fatal, the NBAA has considered the topic a top safety focus area year after year, among other areas such as LOC-I and CFIT. Half of the 28 accidents in business aviation in 2021 were reported to be runway excursions.
Runway excursions typically occur in the light jet category as seen just this year. Within business aviation, runway excursions are not common on shorter runways and typically take place on runways that are over 6,000 feet. This comes as a result of unstabilized approaches and pilots letting their guard down on what may seem like a routine takeoff or approach.
The leading cause of aircraft accidents is pilot error, which is closely related to complacency. Ultimately, this comes down o what it means to conduct yourself in a professional manner. This means doing the right thing even when no one is watching. A crew must hold themselves to the highest standards of safety and professionalism in order to avoid accidents.
How can runway excursions be prevented?
Last year, the Flight Safety Foundation released its Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Excursions. This is a guide with over 100 recommendations for preventing runway excursions in business, commercial, and general aviation.
It serves as a demonstration of the industry’s commitment to preventing runway excursions and it is a recommended read for any pilot wishing to better their safety mindset.
Pilots can incorporate these practices into their flying routine to prevent runway excursions include:
- Comply with procedures and regulations and ensure you are familiar with the criteria for stabilized approaches for your operation.
- Perform proper calculations and know your personal limitations, especially for taking off and landing with a tailwind.
- Be conservative if you don’t know the condition of the runway.
- Know you can always go around if you are unstabilized.
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