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Flying Private Requires Due Diligence

Did you know that pilots earn a pilot-in-command certification from the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) after completing training specific to an aircraft? The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the FAA are investigating the recent crash of a Falcon 50 jet that slid off the runway this month in Greenville, South Carolina killing both pilots and critically injuring two passengers. Although each pilot had logged thousands of hours in the air, it appears neither were certified to be a pilot-in-command of a Falcon 50.

Airport officials said the plane appeared to land normally about 1:40 p.m. but then overran the runway and fell down a 50-foot embankment, causing the fuselage split behind the cockpit. Records show the 36-year old plane was manufactured in 1982. According to a NTSB preliminary report, one pilot only had a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multiengine land and lacked an instrument rating and any type approval in the Falcon 50. First responders reported that all three engines were operating at full power for at least 20 minutes after the accident, with one engine running until about 40 minutes after the accident.

If the plane had been hired as a charter, the charter company has violated regulations and put their passengers at risk by flying without the proper qualifications, which could void any insurance coverage on the aircraft.

Takeaway: When flying private, it is imperative to have an independent security expert vet private air carriers in terms of their safety records and the bona fides of their pilots.


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