Is it safe to fly private? In other words, how safe are often do private jets crash? If you want to discover some private jet crashes statistics, we’ll give you the main one, right away – based on a recent (2020) report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), there were 1.049 private jet crashes per 100,000 hours of flying. In total, there were 1085 accidents, of which only 205 were fatal.
While 205 fatal crashes isn’t a minimal number, when taking into account the high number of flight hours, we can conclude that the rate is normal and that private aviation is, in general, a very safe means of transportation. Furthermore, the numbers for both non-fatal and fatal accidents are lowering year after year, so the outlook is also positive.
How Often Do Private Jets Crash
Private jets crash around 1 time every 100,000 hours of flying, based on a 2020 report from the National Transportation Safety Board.
As we’ve stated previously, there were 1085 general aviation accidents in 2020, which were a result of 19,454,467 flight hours. In order to simplify the data, these statistics are usually presented taking into account 100,000 hours, which brings the number of accidents to 1.049.
Why Do Private Jets Crash
Private jets crash due to either pilot errors or bad weather conditions, which force the pilot to do what we call “flying blind”. More specifically, 53% account for all pilot errors, 21% for mechanical failures, and 11% for weather conditions. The takeoff and landing are, still to this day, the most dangerous time periods. Private jets also show, when compared with commercial aircraft, a lack of safety features and backup plans. A great example of that – some personal jets only have 1 engine!
How Fatal Are Private Jet Crashes
Only 19,89% of private jet crashes are fatal. As you can see, not all accidents are fatal. We know this might sound surprising, but in fact, out of the 1,085 crashes in 2020, only 205 were fatal, with a total of 332 fatalities. When the math is done, roughly 19,89% of general aviation accidents were fatal in 2020, which means over 81% of them involved no fatalities at all. Again, if we look at 100,000 hours, there were only 0.198 fatal private jet accidents, which is a pretty uplifting statistic. You might be surprised by this data because these stories don’t usually reach mainstream news outlets. Now, when compared with other forms of transportation, they are still a dangerous option.
Private Jets Crash Statistics Vs Commercial Airlines
Private aviation industry accidents are more frequent than in commercial airliners. In terms of numbers, less than 0.01 fatalities occur per 100,000 hours with commercial flights, whereas in private jets that ratio is more than 0.19 fatalities per 100,000 hours flown. This is mostly due to the lack of control and safety in these private jets, as well as the riskier and faster travels they do.
In recent years, whereas the commercial airline industry has improved its accident rate by almost 80%, the private jet industry has not shown much improvement. However, if we take both into account, since the 1970s, we’ve seen a drop of 75% in aviation accidents, even though in the last couple of years they have actually increased by 20%.
Private Jets Crash Statistics Vs Cars
A contributor of Live Science goes as far as stating that “private planes are nearly as deadly as cars”. Of course, they are not used as much on a daily basis, but when we balance the statistics, private jets can be as deadly as the leading cause of transportation deaths in America – cars.
Let’s talk numbers: According to a 2010 NTSB report, there was around 1.1 death per every 2 million hours of car travel. If we take the value we’ve stated above for private jets (0.19 fatalities per 100,000 hours), we can conclude that there are about 3.96 fatalities per 2 million hours of travel. With that said, a private jet is about 3.6 times more dangerous than a car.
How Accurate Are These Stats?
Before we start, it is important to understand how we reached these numbers, i.e., what really counts as accidents and how we measure them.
First, remember that the private plane industry does not need to follow the same guidelines and safety measures as the regular airline one, which means it is not only more dangerous, but we know much less of general accidents since many are not reported to the correct authorities. For that reason, much of the data we show you here might not be that accurate.
Secondly, every time we say “general aviation” we are talking about private planes and flights, which not only include private jets (jet engines) but also privately owned planes (piston engines, or turboprops) with fewer commodities. In general, every aircraft which is not operated by major airlines – if you are part of this group, you’re part of these statistics.
Lastly, these are not statistics pulled from a small group of researchers, but data collected and presented by the well-known National Transportation Safety Board, an independent U.S. government investigative agency.
Are You Flying Safely?
As you can see, even though they are one more accident prone when compared to commercial flights, when we look at the real statistics and overall picture, private jets are very safe. Furthermore, as every day passes, the aviation industry improves its safety regulations and technical performance.
Sure, we’ve seen a rise in plane accidents, but that is only due to the increase in flight hours – that’s also due to private jet charters, and their ability to appeal to a more general audience. Plus, the large majority of occurrences are not fatal, and most of the time are without significant injuries either.