Are private jets safe?

An extensive analysis by Aviation International News highlights the safety record of private jet charter and fractional operators.

By Doug Gollan, October 18, 2021

How safe are private jets? A lot of it depends on whether you are talking about the charter and fractional operators or owners flying private aircraft for their non-commercial flights.

There were no private jet fatalities in the past 10 years among fractional operators.

U.S. charter operators had three just three fatal accidents during the same period, with 18 deaths.

Part 91 flights were another story. They tallied 32 fatal accidents and 118 fatalities.

The results from an Aviation International News analysis of private jet and turboprop accidents over the past decade should give peace of mind to fearful flyers. That’s when flying with legitimate operators whose aircraft and flight crews are certified to meet those Part 135 and 91K standards.

The analysis looked at both U.S.-registered aircraft (N-tails) and global operations.

For the U.S., from 2010 through 2020, Part 91 operated private jets had 32 fatal accidents resulting in 118 deaths.

Looking at the turboprop market, business turboprops operating under Part 135 suffered 15 fatal accidents with 43 deaths.

During the same period, Part 91 business turboprop flights saw 82 fatal accidents and 239 deaths.

The three fatal business jet accidents of N-registered tails included a 2012 Learjet 25 crash. The accident was on a flight between Monterrey and Toluca, Mexico.

In 2015, Hawker 700A crashed after departing Akron Regional Airport.

The last fatality was in September 2018. A Falcon 50 ran off the runway in South Carolina.

In the last case, the National Transport Safety Board reported, “The operator’s decision to allow a flight in an airplane with known, unresolved maintenance discrepancies, and the flight crew’s failure to properly configure the airplane in a way that would have allowed the emergency or parking brake systems to stop the airplane during landing.”

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