Perhaps nothing is so terrifying as the thought of a plane crash. Fortunately, commercial airplane accidents are quite rare. Overall, per the National Transportation Safety Board, your odds of dying in a plane crash are one in 11 million. Nonetheless, plane accidents can and do occur, especially when smaller aircrafts are involved. Just this year, a woman died on a Southwest flight after the window shattered during flight. Several people additionally died in private plane accidents, including a Hamptons crash in which the wing of the plane broke off mid-flight, killing three. Our Austin airplane accident attorneys discuss the incidences and causes of plane accidents below.
Private Plane Crashes More Common Than You May Realize
Private air travel has come a long way since the 1970s, when it was not uncommon for small planes to disappear and never be seen again. However, private plane crashes remain far more common than commercial accidents. The fatality rate for private planes is estimated to be one death per every 100,000 hours of flight. The accident rate for personal flights has actually increased by 20 percent over the past decade, while fatality rates for business flights have decreased. These statistics should put things into perspective for prospective flyers. Know that the overall accident rate for flying remains low, far lower than driving, but private planes have a higher incidence of crashes.
Causes of Plane Crashes
The main causes of plane crashes are as follows:
- Pilot error: Pilot error is thought to be the number one cause of plane accidents, both private and commercial. Pilots must be prepared to handle any abnormal conditions that could arise during flight, including mechanical malfunctions. Pilots who are inexperienced may not be prepared to cope with poor weather or other less than ideal circumstances, which could result in accidents.
- Weather: Weather has been known to cause numerous plane accidents. Smaller planes are especially susceptible to extreme weather and lightning strikes can cause electrical failure potentially to planes of any size.
- Mechanical failings: Planes must meet stringent manufacturer requirements, but even the most careful inspections cannot fully foreclose the possibility of a mechanical malfunction during flight. Defects with an airplane can have disastrous effects.
Increasing your knowledge as to the safety of airplanes can help you feel better travelling on commercial flights. Contact an airplane accident attorney if you or a loved one is ever injured in a private or commercial plane accident.