Most Common Causes of Aviation Accidents

Posted on behalf of Henness & Haight on Jun 18, 2015 in Aviation Accident News

It is a general truth that flying is the safest way to travel. The statistics surrounding this, however, can be somewhat mitigated by the fact that there is a far greater chance of fatality from an aviation accident. Among aviation accidents, private aircraft result in the most fatalities. Here are the most common causes of aircraft accidents.

Small Aircraft

Small aircraft can actually skew the numbers of aviation accidents. Statistics from the National Transportation Safety Board demonstrate that a full 97 percent of all fatalities from aviation accidents occur in small aircraft and not in big commercial flights. Every day there are somewhere around five crashes of small planes, which result in nearly 500 deaths every year. These numbers are staggering and leave those behind looking for answers.

Low Fuel

Surprisingly, many small and general aviation accidents occur due to the pilot mismanaging fuel. As the plane runs dry, it goes to the ground. The pilot and crew absolutely need to understand how to manage the complex fuel system of their plane or other small aircraft and monitor the levels effectively.

Lack of Experience

Inexperienced pilots are a major reason why aviation accidents happen. Experience is everything when being behind the stick. When unexpected situations arise, a pilot who has logged thousands of flight hours is far better equipped to think on their feet and properly react than is one who is new to the game. Further, it is far easier for a new pilot to make mistakes involving safe speed, turning the plane, knowing the optimum altitude and other situations that can cause unsafe conditions.

Mechanical Problems

Not all accidents are the fault of the pilot. Sometimes the ground crew misses something on inspection. Other times a part of the plane that checked out fine on inspection just breaks, and there was nothing anyone could have done. Mechanical problems are a greater cause of accidents than fuel and experience issues put together.

Takeoff and Landing

Errors during takeoff and landing are also a major reason for general aviation accidents. Equipment and construction activities have been known to get in the way of a plane that is taxiing down the runway. In addition, lifting, climbing and leveling off involve a great deal of skill and it is easy to make a miscalculation that can result in disaster. Landing is one of the trickiest parts of flying. Knowing how to reduce to the proper speed, safely control the plane on touchdown and navigate the sometimes crowded runway environment can present all sorts of hazards. One second of distraction can create the conditions for a fatal accident.

Still Safe

Despite all this, improved regulations and education for pilots mean that flying is still very safe. While even one death is unacceptable, 500 deaths annually is a very small number considering the thousands upon thousands of small passenger flights taken every year. If you or a loved one are involved in an aviation accident and need representation, we are here to help. Take a look at our airplane accident or helicopter accident pages and get in touch if you would like a free consultation.