- FAR Part 121 (major airlines)
- FAR Part 135 Scheduled (minor airlines operating to a schedule)
- FAR Part 135 On Demand (charter airlines)
The Wellstone aircraft was operating under FAR 135 On Demand, so my stats will involve only those aircraft. The figures also refer to fixed wing operations, and not helicopters.
Firstly, let have a look at the general statistics. All data has been taken from the annual NTSB Review of Aircraft Accident Data reports, available at the NTSB website (www.ntsb.gov). I have shown:
- the total number of aircraft accidents
- the number of those accidents that involved fatalities*
- the percentage of aircraft accidents that were due to pilot error
- the number of aircraft accidents that were due to loss of control during the approach to landing phase
- the number of fatal accidents that were due to loss of control during the approach to landing phase, and
- the number of fatal accidents per million flight hours
(* The number shown is not the number of fatalities but simply the number of incidents which resulted in at least one fatality)
In 2000, the NTSB changed the way it published data, so some stats aren't available. So you can still compare 2002 to previous years data, I have copied the graphs from earlier reports:
So we can now see that experienced pilots losing SA with resultant loss of control during instrument approaches - especially during marginal weather conditions - is nothing unusual. As I said previously: it's happened before and it will happen again.
Next we'll show just how incorrect Dr Fetzer's boast is:
What a nitwit! These events, each of which is relatively improbable, are all happening at the same time. Their probability of occurring together is equal to their product. That would be a very small number, indeed. I am quite confident that all of these -- or even a substantial subset -- have never occurred together before.
What is more, I'll do it without resorting to bombastic posts or ad hominem.