A woman was killed on a private jet this past Friday, March 3rd. The woman, Dana Hyde, was a prominent Washington D.C. attorney. The Bombardier Challenger 300 encountered severe turbulence and had a reported trim issue. This incident again raises new private jet safety questions and is being investigated by the NTSB.
Here this aircraft was fully equipped and had a flight crew.
While private jets are considered to be safer overall than commercial aircraft, incidents like this do raise questions.
For one, traveling at higher altitudes means less turbulence and a more comfortable passenger experience. The aircraft will not only burn less fuel, but generally be above inclement weather and commercial air traffic. With less traffic at higher altitudes, pilots can change flight paths easily, if needed.
However, for smaller light executive jets where there is no flight crew, the safety burden falls on the pilots. Modern avionics will show weather conditions and monitoring radio traffic can alert to any potential turbulence. Just as flying commercially, when seated it’s a good idea to have your seat belt fastened.
When flying private, just asking a few basic questions can certainly add to overall safety. For passengers there are some basic questions to ask.
About the charter or private aircraft operator:
- Have there been any accidents ?
- Any FAA incidents or violations ?
- How long has the operator been in business ?
- Does the management have prior aviation experience ?
About the pilots that will be flying your aircraft:
- Are pilots required to have 250 minimum hours in the aircraft you’ll be flying ?
- Do the pilots have experience flying into the airports you will be traveling to ?
- How long has the pilot worked for that operator ?
- What type of ongoing training are the pilots required to do ?
- Do the pilots know basic first aid and CPR ?
While accidents do happen, flying private offers so many benefits that is definitely preferred over commercial. So, despite new private jet safety questions that may be raised, passengers should be confident that it is safe.
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