NTSB Releases 2009 Aviation Accident Statistics; On-demand Accidents at Lowest Level in Last 20 Years

Washington, D.C. - The National Transportation Safety Board today released preliminary aviation accident statistics for 2009 showing an overall decrease in U. S. civil aviation accidents that includes general aviation and on-demand Part 135 operations. In fact, on-demand Part 135 operations had the lowest number of accidents and fatal accidents for that type of air operation in the last 2 decades.

The total number of U.S. civil aviation accidents decreased from 1,658 in 2008 to 1,551 in 2009. Total fatalities also showed a decrease from 566 to 534. The majority of these fatalities occurred in general aviation and scheduled Part 121 operations.

General aviation accidents decreased from 1,566 in 2008 to 1,474 in 2009. There were 272 fatal general aviation accidents, down from 275 the year before. However, the accident rate increased to 7.20 per 100,000 flight hours in 2009 from 6.86 in 2008, due to the decrease in the number total of flight hours. Although fatalities decreased from 494 to 474, the fatal accident rate increased to from 1.21 to 1.33.

Last year, one fatal accident occurred involving a scheduled Part 121 operator. On February 12, 2009, a Colgan Air, Inc., Bombardier DHC-8- 400, operating as Continental Connection flight 3407, crashed outside of Buffalo , New York, resulting in 50 fatalities.

On-demand Part 135 operations reported 47 accidents in 2009, a decrease from 58 in 2008. Fatalities also decreased from 69 in 2008 to 17 in 2009. The accident rate decreased to 1.63 per 100,000 flight hours in 2009 from 1.81 in 2008.