- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 2, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal safety officials report a spike last year in deaths from crashes of air medical, air taxi and tour flights.

But the National Transportation Safety Board said major U.S. airlines suffered no accident fatalities in 2008 for the second consecutive year.

NTSB said Thursday there were 56 so-called on-demand flight accidents in which 66 people were killed in 2008. That’s the highest number of fatalities for such flights in eight years and an increase of 13 deaths over 2007. The on-demand accident rate per 100,000 flight hours of 1.52 remained virtually unchanged.

The nation suffered its deadliest air crash in seven years on Feb. 12 when a regional airliner tumbled out of control and onto a house near Buffalo, N.Y., killing 50 people.

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