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Aviation Deaths In US Rises In 2018

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The number of civil aviation deaths in the United States rose from 347 in 2017 to 393 in 2018, says the National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary statistics.

After a gap of nine years, the first airline passenger death was reported in 2018 when a passenger on board a Southwest airlines flight was killed in an accident caused by an engine failure.

The fatal accident rate in general aviation was 1.029 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, compared to 2017's rate of 0.935.

The fatal accident rate for Part 135 operations decreased in 2018, down from 16 in 2017 to 12 in 2018, the NTSB data shows.

Part 135 operations include charters, air taxis, air tours and medical services, when a patient is on board.

"It is disappointing to see the fatal general aviation accident rate increase after two years with the rate below 1.0 per 100,000 flight hours," said NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt.

He said that although the fatal accident rate for Part 135 operations decreased in 2018, in recent years the NTSB has investigated some Part 135 accidents that had glaring safety deficiencies.

The statistics do not detail potential reasons for the increase in fatalities in U.S. aviation, but the NTSB has addressed aviation safety in both the General Aviation and Part 135 operations communities, including highlighting related safety issues on its Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements.

NTSB has given utmost priority for improving the safety of Part 135 aircraft flight operations.

The agency recently held a round-table in Anchorage, Alaska, to identify solutions to Part 135 flight operations safety.

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