Monday, November 10, 2014

Bahamas: GA Lear Jet Crashes on Approach in Freeport, All Nine Souls Killed

According to The Associated Press and, a general aviation (GA) Lear jet with nine souls aboard crashed on approach near Grand Bahama International Airport Sunday (November 9), killing all aboard, including a prominent evangelical pastor and his wife.

"The [Bahamian] Department of Civil Aviation has been advised unofficially that the aircraft was destroyed and that there were no survivors," the Ministry of Transport and Aviation said in a statement to The Associated Press.

The Lear 36 Executive Jet had taken off from the Bahamian capital of Nassau and crashed at 1700 hours on Sunday as it was approaching to land at Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport.

Dr. Myles Munroe and his wife Ruth were also killed in the fatal crash, Kelley Jackson, a spokeswoman from the Andrew J. Young Foundation told ABC News.

"Ambassador Young expresses his deep sadness over the tragic death of his friends Dr. Myles and Mrs. Ruth Munroe," the organization posted on its Facebook page tonight. "Young offered his condolences to the Munroe family and the families of the other souls who lost their lives as a result of this disaster." 

Dr. Richard H. Pinder, a Senior Vice President and Pastor of Bahamas Faith Ministries Fellowship Church, also died in the crash, Bahamas Faith Ministries confirmed to ABC News.

The group was on their way to the Global Leadership Forum, which was organized by Munroe and was scheduled for this week in Freeport. A posting on Munroe's Facebook page said the event would proceed as scheduled.

COMMENT: Having spent a significant part of my life, perhaps as much as 20%. I have flown internationally both on scheduled airlines as well as GA corporate jets on VIP security assignments.

In 45 years of international travel, both as a government agent as well a security consultant, I must personally acknowledge that I feel SAFE flying Category 1 airlines, regardless of nationality.

My sense is that general aviation (GA) is often overlooked and not the highest priority in terms of international travel.

GA pilots and flight crews are simply not nearly as conversant and skilled in flying into developing countries due to the nuances of on-the-ground aircraft security, police corruption, ethics, protecting information regarding departures/arrivals and expediting GA passengers.

The fact is that GA aircrews unaware that many destination airports in developing countries often require landing and take-offs WITHOUT IFR (Instrument Flight Regulations) versus VFR (Visual Flight Regulations).

The bottom-line is that general aviation is NOT as SAFE as category 1 commercial airliners.

I don't subscribe to the use of GA aircraft for corporate executives unless there is a compelling security reason for doing so (e.g., avoiding news media, a corporate executive identifiable by sight or security requirements driven by firearms access, alerting foreign governments of a recognizable executive's impending travel as a result of a media event.
During all of those years I have become well-versed in aircraft emergency procedures and have been on a number of flights that have experienced in-flight emergencies, bomb, terrorist threats, etc.

Below is a press release from the NTSB relative to general aviation crashes and fatalities:

On-demand Part 135 operations, which include charter, air taxi, air tour, and air medical flights, revealed increases in all categories in 2013. 

The number of total accidents (44), fatal accidents (10), and fatalities (27) all increased, and the general aviation (GA) accident rate per 100,000 flight hours increased to 1.24 from 0.99 in 2012.

According to the below link, commercial aviation [i.e., scheduled airlines] is the safest way of traveling in the US:

Courtesy of the above link, commercial aviation is the safest mode of transportation in the US:

"Airlines: The majority of aviation fatalities that occur each year (85%) involved private aircraft (known as “general aviation”). 

On average, 549 people die each year in activities such as recreational flying (41% of flight hours), business travel (24%), and instruction (17%). 

Excluding acts of suicide and terrorism, commercial aviation was the safest mode of travel in the United States, with 0.07 fatalities per billion passenger miles: “A person who took a 500-mile flight every single day for a year, would have a fatality risk of 1 in 85,000.” 

One variable to note: Takeoffs and landings are where the risk is, not in the number of miles flown, so risk-per-flight calculations are higher." 

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