According to Air Facts -- a journal for personal air travel by pilots, for pilots -- only 244 people out of 3 billion died in 2013 from airline crashes. More people are killed by hippos on an average year.
The business jet record is similarly impressive. There were a total of 6 fatal accidents in US-registered jets (tracking non-US private airplanes is tougher) during 2013, resulting in 17 fatalities. While certainly tragic for those 17 people, this is another ridiculously small number. All of these fatal accidents were in Part 91 operations, so literally no Part 135 jet charter customers died.
The end result is that, if you buy a ticket or book a charter on a jet in the United States, your chance of dying in a crash is almost zero. I may be tempting fate here, but the statistics say that weve pretty much won our battle against fatal accidents. Thats not a reason to get complacent or assume pilots are perfect, but its time we acknowledge the facts.
Thats something the FAA and NTSB are having a hard time doing. Declaring victory would be, in many ways, a defeat for these organizations in the contest for power and funding. Like a political group who wins their election, its hard to move on, and simply maintaining the status quo doesnt advance a career. The incentive is to do more, to break new ground?which means more regulations, more programs and more cost. But what problem are we solving? Were far beyond the point of diminishing returns; were now in the statistical noise.
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