Transportation Safety Board Wednesday released the preliminary report for
its investigation of the May 13, 2019, fatal mid-air collision near Ketchikan,
Alaska, one in a string of recent accidents involving for-hire aircraft.
The collision between a float-equipped de
Havilland DHC-2 Beaver and a float-equipped de Havilland DHC-3 Turbine Otter
occurred about seven miles northeast of Ketchikan, Alaska. The DHC-2 commercial
pilot and four passengers sustained fatal injuries and the DHC-3 certificated
airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries, nine passengers sustained
serious injuries and one passenger sustained fatal injuries.
Both aircraft involved in the mid-air
collision were operating under Part
135 of FAA regulations, which govern the operation of business and charter
flights. So was the airplane that crashed Monday in Alaska and the helicopter
that crashed in Hawaii April 29.
“While these tragic accidents are still
under investigation, and no findings or causes have been determined, each crash
underscores the urgency of improving the safety of charter flights by
implementing existing NTSB safety recommendations,” said Robert L. Sumwalt,
Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. “The need for those
improvements is why the NTSB put Part 135 aircraft flight operations on the
2019 – 2020 Most
Wanted List of transportation safety improvements.”
The NTSB’s safety recommendations call on
Part 135 operators to implement safety management systems, record and analyze
flight data, and ensure pilots receive controlled-flight-into-terrain avoidance
training. Major passenger airlines, which operate under Part
121, have adopted these measures and have seen a great improvement in
“A customer who pays for a ticket should
trust that the operator is using the industry’s best practices when it comes to
safety,’’ Sumwalt said. “And it shouldn’t matter if the operator has one
airplane or 100. Travelers should have an equivalent level of safety regardless
of the nature of the flight for which they paid.”
The preliminary report on the
investigation of the May 13 mid-air collision does not discuss probable cause.
The report contains information gathered thus far in the investigation.
Determination of probable cause and the issuance of any safety
recommendations comes at the end of an investigation. Investigations involving
fatalities and other major NTSB investigations currently take between 12 and 24
months to complete.
The preliminary report for the Ketchikan
crash is available on the NTSB website at https://go.usa.gov/xmfmQ .
report for the April 29, helicopter crash near Kailua, Hawaii, is available
on the NTSB website at https://go.usa.gov/xmf8G
The preliminary report for the Metlakatla
crash has not yet been developed.
To learn more about the NTSB’s Most Wanted
List and Part
135 aircraft operations visit https://go.usa.gov/xmf8M.