2015 airline safety and security review
This review includes all significant safety or security related occurrences from 2015. Numbered events involve the death of at least one airline passenger, and all events meet criteria set by AirSafe.com
Year end review
This is the 20th annual review since AirSafe.com was launched in 1996. While this review, like the previous reviews, highlight a wide range of events that affect both airline safety and aviation security, The focus is on events that result in the deaths of airline passengers. The number of these fatal passengers events has ranged from 19 in 1997 to five in 2013. The five fatal events of 2015 matches the 2013 record of the lowest number of annual fatal events tracked by AirSafe.com.
Four of those five events involved airliner models commonly used in North America and western Europe, and AirSafe.com tracks the fatal event rates for a number of these commonly used aircraft models.
The event which has attracted by far the most media attention, as well as the most traffic at AirSafe.com, is the Germanwings crash in March that was apparently due to deliberate actions taken by the first officer. The first officer apparently locked the captain out of the cockpit, and no one was able the get through the armored cockpit door before the aircraft crashed. This was actually the second time in the past two years were one flight crew member locked out the other flight crew member and then crashed the aircraft. The Germanwings event also represented the seventh time since 1980 where a flight crew member deliberately crashed an airliner.
The other event that attracted significant amounts of attention also was due to a deliberate action rather than to an accident, and that was the bombing of a MetroJet A321 aircraft over Egypt. While the investigation is still ongoing, it is very likely that the bombing was perpetrated by the group commonly referred to as ISIS.
21 total events
The 21 events listed below consists of five events that resulted in the death of at least one airline passenger, and 16 other events, 10 of which included at least one fatality, included a range of circumstances including airline flights, cargo flights, military aircraft, air show practices, and celebrity pilots:
- Five fatal airliner crashes, four of which killed all on board,
- Three nonfatal runway excursions of large passenger jets,
- Three fatal crashes related to air show practices,
- Two crashes, one of which was fatal, involving Hollywood celebrities who were piloting their own aircraft,
- Two fatal crashes of military transports that were carrying passengers,
- Two fatal crashes involving cargo aircraft,
- Two passenger airliners that caught fire just prior to takeoff, neither of which led to fatalities,
- One sightseeing flight that killed all on board, and
- The in-flight death of a flight crew member of a passenger jet.
This review includes important safety or security related occurrences from 2015. There are two types of events in this review, numbered events and significant events. Numbered events must meet the following criteria:
- There is at least one passenger fatality,
- The flight was open to the general public, and
- The aircraft was a large jet or turboprop driven model that is typically used in airline service.
Significant events are those that don't meet the criteria for a numbered event, but would likely be of interest to airline passengers and the aviation safety and security community.
These events may include non-fatal airline accidents, events unrelated to an airline flight, hijackings, military actions, criminal activities, or acts of sabotage.
Definitions used by AirSafe.com
- 4 February 2015; TransAsia Airways ATR 72-600; B-22816; flight GE235; Taipei, Taiwan:
The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight between Taipei and Kinmen Island, Taiwan.
The airplane crashed into a river shortly after takeoff from Songshan Airport in Taipei.
The aircraft hit a bridge, as well as a vehicle on that bridge, before plunging into the Keelung River.
Shortly before hitting the bridge, the aircraft rolled sharply to the left.
Four of the five crew members, including both pilots, were killed, as were 39 of the 53 passengers.
The two people who were in the vehicle were both injured.
This was the second fatal plane crash in less than a year for TransAsia Airways. Having two or more plane crashes in less than a year has happened over 35 times since 1970.
ATR 72 plane crashes
Flight GE235 Wikipedia entry
Other TransAsia Airways plane crashes
5 March 2015; Delta Air Lines MD88; N909DL; flight DL1086; New York, NY: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight between Atlanta and New York's La Guardia Airport, and had a landing excursion that led to an emergency evacuation. The aircraft landed on runway 13 and departed to the left side of the runway, coming to rest on a dike that separated the runway area from the waters of Flushing Bay. At the time of the event, it had been snowing, with freezing fog conditions and below freezing temperatures. The aircraft was also affected by both a crosswind and a tailwind during the landing. An A319 that had preceded the Delta jet had reported good braking action on runway 13. None of the 125 passengers or five crew members were seriously injured.
MD80 plane crashes
Other Delta plane crashes
5 March 2015; Ryan ST3KR Recruit; N53178; Santa Monica, CA: Actor Harrison Ford was the pilot and sole occupant of a Ryan ST3KR Recruit, a two-seat, open cockpit aircraft that was used extensively as a training aircraft by the US military in WWII. According to a preliminary report from the NTSB, Ford reported a loss of engine power shortly after taking off from the Santa Monica airport, and was attempting to return to runway 3 at Santa Monica.
Ford chose to land on a nearby golf course, clipping the top of a tree before landing. The aircraft was seriously damage, and Ford was hospitalized with serious injuries. This was Harrison Ford's third crash involving an airplane or a helicopter.
Plane crashes involving Harrison Ford
- 24 March 2015; Germanwings A320-200; D-AIPX; flight 4U9525; near Barcelonnette, France:
The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Barcelona, Spain to Düsseldorf, Germany.
About a half hour after takeoff, while at a cruising altitude of 38,000 feet, the aircraft began losing altitude, and crashed about ten minutes later.
The investigative authorities suspect that the first officer deliberately crashed the aircraft.
All six crew members and 144 passengers were killed.
More details on the Germanwings crash
Lufthansa plane crashes
A320 plane crashes
Flight 9525 Wikipedia entry
Airliners deliberately crashed by a flight crew member
29 March 2015; Air Canada A320-200; C-FTJP; flight AC624; near Halifax, Canada: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Toronto to Halifax, Canada. At the time the aircraft entered the Halifax area, visibility was limited due to both darkness and snowfall, and the aircraft entered a holding pattern before attempting a landing. During final approach, the aircraft touched down about 300 meters short of the runway, apparently hitting a combination of power lines and a localizer array before sliding onto the runway. The aircraft slid down the runway about 1000 meters, coming to rest just off the left side of the runway.
Damage to the aircraft included collapsed main and nose landing gear, both engines severely damaged, with the left engine sheared off, separated radome, and damage to the wings, stabilizers, and underside of the fuselage. While there was a fuel leak, there was no post crash fire. There were no severe injuries among the five crew members and 133 passengers.
Air Canada plane crashes
A320 plane crashes
22 June 2015; Short S312 Tucano T; N206PZ; near Ojai, CA: Composer James Horner, who created music for over 150 movies, including "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," "48 Hrs.," and "Aliens," and who won two Oscars for his work in "Titanic," was killed in the crash of his Short Tucano in southern California. Horner was the only person on the aircraft.
More on this event
Celebrity plane crashes
25 June 2015; Promech Air; DeHavilland DHC-3T Turbine Otter; N270PA; near Near Ketchikan, AK: The aircraft was on an unscheduled excursion flight in the area of the Misty Fjords National Monument, and crashed into an area of steep, mountainous terrain. The pilot and all eight passengers were killed. The passengers were from a cruise ship, and were on a sightseeing flight.
30 June 2015; Indonesia Air Force C130B; A-1310; Medan, Indonesia, AK: The aircraft was on a nonscheduled domestic flight from Medan to Tanjung Pinang and crashed into a residential neighborhood shortly after takeoff. The aircraft had a crew of 12 and 101 civilian passengers. The crew had reportedly requested a return to the departure airport. The passengers were military family members and the aircraft who were headed to Tanjung Pinang for Ramadan related activities.
- 16 August 2015; Trigana Air Service ATR 42-300; PK-YRN; flight IL257; near Oksibil, Indonesia:
The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight between Jayapura and Oksibil, Indonesia.
The airplane crashed in mountainous terrain at about 8,500 feet (2,600 m) above sea level during a period of reduced visibility due to rain and fog. residential area near the airport during a go around following an attempted landing at Magong, Taiwan, which is on Penghu island.
All five crew members and 49 passengers were killed.
ATR plane crashes
Trigana Air Service plane crashes
More about this event
20 August 2015; Dubnica Air Let 410MA; OM-SAB; near Vršatec, Slovakia,: The aircraft was one of two Let 410 aircraft that had departed from Dubnica, Slovakia for a practice skydiving session for an upcoming air show. The aircraft crashed after having a midair collision with a second Let 410 at an altitude of about 4,500 feet. Both pilots and one of the 17 passengers were killed. All the passenger were skydivers, and all but one were able to successfully bail out of the aircraft.
20 August 2015; Dubnica Air Let 410UVP; OM-ODQ; near Vršatec, Slovakia,: The aircraft was one of two Let 410 aircraft that had departed from Dubnica, Slovakia for a practice skydiving session for an upcoming air show. The aircraft crashed after having a midair collision with a second Let 410 at an altitude of about 4,500 feet. Both pilots and one of the two of the 19 passengers were killed. All the passenger were skydivers, and all but two were able to successfully bail out of the aircraft.
22 August 2015; Hawker-Hunter T7; G-BXFI; near Shoreham-by-Sea, United Kingdom: The pilot was executing aerobatic maneuvers while practicing for an airshow. The aircraft, which was a privately owned former military jet, crashed onto a nearby road during one of these maneuvers, killing 11 people who were on or near the road. The pilot was seriously injured.
Interview about airshow safety issues related to this crash
8 September 2015; British Airways 777-200; G-VIIO; flight 2276; Las Vegas, NV: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Las Vegas, NV to London, England when the left engine apparently failed and caught fire prior to takeoff. There was evidence of an uncontained fairlure of the left engine and pylon, including multiple breaches of the engine case in the area around the high pressure compressor. All of the occupants were able to exit the aircraft, but a fire in the area of the left engine damaged the left engine and pylon, left fuselage structure, and inboard left wing. There were no fatalities among the 13 crew members and 158 passengers.
777 plane crashes
British Airways plane crashes
Interview about a 2011 FAA directive that may be related to the engine failure
- 2 October 2015; Aviastar Mandiri Twin Otter 300; PK-BRM; flight MV7503; near Mount Latimojong, Indonesia:
The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight, from Masamba to Makassar, Indonesia, and crashed into a Mount Latimojong, Sulawesi Island.
All three crew members and seven passengers were killed.
2 October 2015; US Air Force C130J; Jalalabad, Afghanistan: The aircraft was on a nonscheduled flight, and crashed shortly after takeoff from Jalalabad Airport. All six military crew members and five civilian passengers were killed. Two people on the ground were also killed.
5 October 2015; American Airlines A320; flight 550; Syracuse, NY: The aircraft was on a scheduled flight from Phoenix, AZ to Boston, MA, but diverted to Syracuse, NY after the captain fell ill and passed away during the flight. The first officer continued the flight and the aircraft diverted to Syracuse, NY. None of the other crew members or 147 passengers were injured.
29 October 2015; Dynamic International Airways 767-200; N251MY; flight DYA405; Fort Lauderdale, FL: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Caracas, Venezuela when a fire broke out in the area of the left engine prior to takeoff. There were over a dozen injuries among 90 passengers and 11 crew members.
Plane crashes in Latin America and the Caribbean
767 plane crashes
- 31 October 2015; Metrojet A321-200; EI-ETJ; flight 7K9268; near Hasna, Egypt:
The aircraft was on a nonscheduled international flight from Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt to St. Petersburg, Russia.
Air traffic control lost contact with the flight about 23 minutes after departure, after the aircraft reached a cruising altitude of about 31,000 feet.
The aircraft crashed in a remote area of the Sinai Peninsula shortly thereafter.
All seven crew members and 217 passengers were killed.
This is the second fatal crash for this airline.
In January 2011, three passengers were killed after a Kolavia Tu154 caught fire shortly before takeoff .
Metrojet operated as Kogalymavia or Kolavia until 2012.
A320 plane crashes
Crashes involving airlines of Russia
More about this event
4 November 2015; Allied Services Limited Antonov 12BK; EY-406; flight 7K9268; Juba, South Sudan: The aircraft was on a nonscheduled domestic cargo flight from Juba to Paloich, South Sudan, and crashed shortly after takeoff. While the aircraft was operating as a cargo flight and was not authorized to carry passengers, there were roughly a dozen passengers on board All six crew members and 35 of the 37 passengers were killed. One of the surviving passengers was Nyalou Thong, a 13-month-old girl.
15 December 2015; Southwest Airlines 737-300; N649SW; flight 31; Nashville, TN: The aircraft was on a scheduled flight from Houston, TX to Nashville, TN After arrival, the aircraft slid off the taxiway, collapsing its nose landing gear and coming to rest in a ditch. None of the five crew members or 133 passengers were killed. Several passengers sustained minor injuries.
Southwest Airlines crashes
737 plane crashes
24 December 2015; Services Air A310-304F; 9Q-CVH; Mbuji, Democratic Republic of the Congo: The aircraft was on a nonscheduled domestic cargo flight from Lubumbashi to Mbuji, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the aircraft experienced a runway excursion after landing during a period of heavy rainfall. The aircraft hit a number of houses in a residential area that was about 300 meters beyond the end of the runway. All four crew members survived, but eight people on the ground were killed.
A310 plane crashes
http://www.airsafe.com/plane-crash/review-2015.htm -- Revised: 7 November 2015