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Canada TSB Begins Special Study of Air-taxi Safety

 - March 18, 2019, 9:37 AM

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has launched a special study of air-taxi operations following its collection of data that shows over the last 15 years, the segment has seen 813 accidents resulting in 242 fatalities (an average of 16.1 annually) and 162 serious injuries. These deaths represent 62 percent of all commercial aviation fatalities.

In Canada, air taxis are regulated under Part 703 and cover piston- and turboprop-powered airplanes and helicopters only. Jet-powered aircraft cannot be operated as air taxis. As such, they are not included in Canada’s air-taxi accident statistics. On-demand charter operations in Canada are operated under Part 704 commuter regulations.

The TSB said its investigation reports have repeatedly drawn attention to critical safety issues that contribute to air-taxi accidents. “In spite of this, the air-taxi sector continues to have the highest number of commercial aviation accidents and fatalities.” To identify and communicate the underlying systemic safety issues that need to be addressed, the TSB has launched a special investigation into the industry. TSB statistics show that of the 183 airplane fatalities, 48 occurred in turboprop accidents and 135 in accidents involving reciprocating-engine aircraft. In total, turboprops suffered 133 accidents and recips 411 mishaps.

Because there are four times as many air-taxi turboshaft rotorcraft as recips (1,306 versus 329), the accident fatalities are skewed more heavily toward turboshafts. The TSB reported that over the last 15 years, there were five fatalities and 29 total accidents involving recips, compared with 54 fatalities and 240 total accidents of turboshaft helicopters.

“If we uncover serious safety deficiencies during the course of our investigation, we will not wait until the public report to make them known,” the TSB said. “We will inform industry and the regulator, as well as the public, as quickly as possible.”

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