The Top 10 Reasons Why Planes Crash
Aug 03, · That said, for the most part, plane crashes tend to break down into four main categories: mechanical failure, weather, intentional, and human error. Apr 21, · However, there are several causes that have been found to be contributing factors in most aviation accidents: Pilot error. The most common cause of aviation accidents is pilot error, which accounts for approximately half of all Mechanical defects. Planes are massive feats of .
Exclusive articles on drones and airplanes. Despite the fact that many air passengers worry about them, plane crashes are in fact extremely rare.
There are a wide range of estimates given by different sources, but the odds of dying as a plane passenger are usually quoted as around 1 inThis compares with odds of 1 in 4, for dying as a cyclist, and about 1 in in a car crash. Nevertheless, plane crashes do happen occasionally, both in private aircraft and commercial airliners. And of course, the flying public wants to know why. Careful analysis of a number of plane crashes has identified five main reasons, although many accidents are caused by a combination of factors.
Let us take a look at each of these how to register a it company turn…. This might seem surprising at first glance.
After all, pilots are skilled, highly trained individuals, and their performance is constantly being assessed. Even in the fairly recent past, this was the way air crashes caused by human error were viewed. It was considered that pilots simply should not be making mistakes, and something was very wrong if they were. Pilot error, it was thought, just should not happen. But careful research of air crashes showed that this was not the correct way to think about it.
Pilots are simply ordinary human beings, vauses they have an extraordinary amount of work to do and information which they need to process, when flying a complicated machine like a modern airliner. There are numerous opportunities for things to go wrong, from failing to program the flight management computer what are the qualities of a good communicator, to miscalculating the fuel uplift, to give but a couple of examples.
This was far more than just a change in terminology but became a complete change of perception. And efforts were made to standardize instruments and procedures, and to improve checks and balances, in order to make mistakes less likely to occur. For example, a fairly recent example of a crash attributed to mistakes by the vauses crew occurred when an airplane struck a seawall at San Francisco International Airport incausing the deaths of three passengers and numerous injuries to passengers and crew members.
It was found that the pilots had been experiencing severe fatigue, which most likely degraded their performance during the approach. Efforts are now constantly how to make a floating dock with barrels made to ensure that pilots do not become too fatigued, and are not overloaded by work pressures or complicated systems so that these accidents are less likely to happen.
Modern planes are far safer than aircraft were in the past, plwne are becoming more so as time goes on. But planes are massive feats of complex engineering, and are made up of hundreds of separate systems and parts. A defect or failure in any one of these can lead to a dangerous situation. These can include manufacturing defects, inadequate repairs or equipment replacements, and old or worn out parts.
An example of mechanical failure of an aircraft occurred inwhen a disintegrating fan blade caused the left hand engine of a British Midland Boeing to lose power. Instrumentation which was hard to read had confused the pilots, which led to them shutting down the right hand engine by mistake. With no power, the aircraft crashed just short of the runway, killing and injuring a large number of crew and passengers.
Sometimes, new technologies lead to new types of failure. Several disasters caused by this problem led to the withdrawal of the de Havilland Comet aircraft model. Much more recently, a stability problem with the new Boeing MAX caused two well-publicized crashes, crashess the aircraft to be grounded until the problem could be resolved.
Modern airliners are able to fly in almost any weather conditions, unlike small aircraft which have to be far more what is a good camera for landscape photography. But just as driving becomes more dangerous in bad weather, so does flying. Heavy rainstorms, fog and snow can make it more difficult for planes to maneuver and can lead to deadly accidents.
Visibility issues, high winds and skidding during takeoff and landing are some of the most dangerous weather-related threats to aircraft.
And severe thunderstorms can occasionally be lethal, though not as often cxuses passengers think. It skidded off the runway and crashed into a line of cars, killing a toddler. While this is unusual, build-up of ice on the wings of an airliner can easily cause crashes, as occasionally can severe turbulence in thunderstorms. Surprisingly, lightning is not the danger that many passengers think it is. Pilots rely to a huge extent on information and support from air traffic controllers.
Air traffic controllers must coordinate with many different planes at once, and often must take factors such as weather and fuel into consideration when scheduling takeoffs and landings. Cauees error made by an air traffic controller has the potential to result in an aviation accident, possibly involving more than one aircraft.
And just like pilots, air traffic controllers are ordinary human beings, subject to the same imperfections and just as liable to make errors. Like air traffic controllers, there are other people responsible for the safety of every flight. These include dispatchers, loaders, or maintenance engineers.
All these people are sometimes required to work long shifts, and the resulting fatigue can occasionally result in catastrophic mistakes. For example, in the crash of a plane ae killed people was linked to a faulty repair performed years earlier that had allowed fatigue cracks to spread and weaken the bulkhead. This eventually resulted in a catastrophic failure. One of the most surprisingly common factors in aviation accidents is birds.
If a large bird collides with a windscreen or an engine, it can cause damage that may contribute to a plane crash. His skill enabled all passengers and crew on board to be saved, but they easily might not have been. It plqne often said causex aircraft never crash because of one single issue. This is compared to the holes in a Swiss cheese such teh Gruyere, and it is said that when the holes in the cheese line up, then an accident occurs.
For example, if the aircraft suffers a serious technical problem, but one that should not result in the loss of an aircraft, and it is subsequently mishandled by the pilots resulting in a crash, how to do different braids for short hair that count as human error or mechanical breakdown?
The mechanical breakdown on its own should not have meant the plane crashed, as it could have been handled correctly by the pilots.
This is just one example showing that the causes of aircraft accidents are more complicated than many people realize. Indeed, it is perhaps surprising that there are very few aircraft accidents, and we should be grateful that commercial flying is as safe as it is. Let us hope it stays that way! Pilot Institute may earn commission from sales that happen when you click on links. We are a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program. Subscribe now and get a weekly video sent to your inbox on various drone topics hosted by Greg.
Sign me up for the newsletter! Blog Exclusive articles on drones and airplanes. Go plabe blog home. Posted on June 4, Share now. Mechanical Failure Modern planes are far safer than aircraft were in the past, and are becoming more so as time goes on. Weather Problems Modern airliners are able to fly in almost any weather conditions, unlike small aircraft which have to be far more careful.
Errors by Air Traffic Controllers and Other Ground Workers Pilots rely to a huge extent on information and support from air traffic controllers.
The Swiss Cheese Model It is often said that aircraft never crash because of one single issue. About author. Pilot Institute. Similar articles. Airplanes 2 years ago. Comments Share now. Join our weekly video newsletter Subscribe now plans get a weekly video sent to your inbox on ghe drone topics hosted by Greg. Have you liked us on Facebook?
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Apr 04, · usloveescort.com found that 10 percent of crashes are caused by "other" factors, a category in which it includes errors by traffic controllers and ground crew, improperly loaded cargo, runway obstructions and chance events such as bird strikes, among others [source: usloveescort.com ]. Mistakes in the tower can be dangerous. Dec 10, · The many reasons small planes crash. Helicopter fuel tanks that easily rupture and ignite, causing scores of people to be burned alive after low-impact crashes that were otherwise Pilot seats that suddenly slide backward, making airplanes nose-dive when pilots lose grip of the controls; Author: Gail Sullivan. Jul 30, · In , the fatal accident rate was fatal accidents per , hours, with GA fatal accidents. In , the fatal accident rate was fatal accidents per , hours flown, with GA fatal accidents. In , the fatal accident rate was fatal accidents per , hours flown, with GA fatal accidents.
By: Patrick J. Kiger Apr 4, Airline crashes are exceedingly rare events. In , for example, according to the Netherlands-based Aviation Safety Network, there were 15 fatal airliner accidents, resulting in a total of fatalities. But with That works out to a rate of one fatal accident per 2.
But when a plane does go down, despite all the safety features of modern aircraft and the skill of highly-trained pilots, the flying public wants to know why it happened. In the U. But even after painstaking probes, there isn't always a simple, clear answer to why these catastrophes occur. Instead, plane crashes often result from the interaction of a combination of factors, according to NTSB public affairs officer Keith Holloway.
Coming up with a list of causes is complicated, because different agencies and organizations that track crashes don't always describe them the same way. They're similar to the categories utilized by PlaneCrashInfo. Here's some information on each of them. Modern aircraft are increasingly technologically sophisticated, and their complexity can sometimes give humans more opportunities to make mistakes.
According to a article in The Conversation, aviation expert Simon Ashley Bennett said in about half of fatal crashes, errors by pilots are the primary cause of crashes [source: Bennett ]. A study of mishaps between and , published in the journal Aviation Space Environmental Medicine in , found that the most common type of mistake was carelessness, such as neglecting to check for hydraulic pressure for landing gear and flaps during a pre-landing checklist.
That accounted for Flawed decisions, such as making an approach to the airport from too high an altitude, accounted for Making miscalculations in dealing with forces acting on the plane accounted for Mishandling wind or runways conditions happened in 7.
One recent example of a crash attributed to mistakes in the cockpit was Asiana Airlines Flight , which struck a seawall at San Francisco International Airport in , causing the deaths of three passengers and numerous injuries to passengers and crew members.
An NTSB investigation determined that "the flight crew mismanaged the airplane's vertical profile during the initial approach, which resulted in the airplane being well above the desired glidepath when it reached the 5 nautical mile point, and this increased the difficulty of achieving a stabilized approach," and made other mistakes as well.
Some experts, however, have questioned whether some errors that are attributed to pilots actually are the result of their inability to overcome other systemic problems in air transportation, such as poor information and time pressure [source: DeAngelis ].
The downside of advanced modern planes is that there's more technology that can break down, leading some to question whether airliners are overengineered [source: Popular Mechanics ]. Roughly 20 percent of crashes are attributable mainly to things that go wrong with the plane's equipment [source: Bennett ]. One particularly horrific example of a malfunctioning plane was TWA Flight , which exploded in midair and crashed off the coast of Long Island in , killing people [source: FAA ].
While some have suspected a terrorist bomb or missile strike was responsible, the NTSB determined otherwise [source: Gray ]. Instead, as the FAA's website explains, "the most likely scenario was a combination of a latent fault of an electronic fuel quantity indicating system component within the fuel tank, combined with a short circuit or other fault outside of the tank.
This scenario would result in a high-energy electrical arc within the fuel tank that could ignite the flammable vapors" [source: FAA ]. Mechanical problems also can be exacerbated by flight crew mistakes. In , for example, one of the engines of a British airliner began to malfunction, according to a report by the Air Accidents Investigation Board.
But the flight crew mistakenly believed that the aircraft's other engine was the one that had been damaged and shut it down instead. They didn't realize their mistake until the aircraft abruptly lost power 2. That led to a crash that claimed the lives of 47 passengers [source: Air Accidents Investigation Branch ]. Whenever an airliner goes down in a storm, it's natural to wonder if the weather had something to do with it. It turns out, though, that weather is much more of a hazard for small planes, which have more than 20 times the rate of weather-related accidents per , hours flown compared to big jet-powered airliners, and it isn't as big a factor in airline crashes as you might suspect [source: FAA ].
Bennett attributed just 10 percent or so of crashes to bad weather [source: Bennett ]. For airliners, a FAA study found that the most common weather factors contributing to accidents was turbulence, while wind was the second most common. Airliners didn't have much trouble with other weather conditions, such low visibility and thunderstorms [source: FAA ]. One thunderstorm-related phenomenon that can be very dangerous to airliners is a microburst, a downdraft — a column of sinking air — that occurs within the storm and creates high-speed winds [source: National Weather Service ].
In , for example, a microburst that occurred during the takeoff of Pan Am Flight from New Orleans International Airport caused the plane to crash, killing occupants of the plane, was well as eight people on the ground [source: NTSB ]. Sometimes, the problem with weather is how pilots choose to deal with it. Sylvia Wrigley, author of the book " Why Planes Crash ," told BBC News in that she couldn't think of a crash in which weather was the sole explanation.
One weather-related risk is continuation bias — that is, the inclination to continue with an existing plan, even if it is inadvisable. Such bias may lead a pilot to attempt to continue on and reach the destination, rather than diverting because of weather conditions, sometimes with disastrous results [source: DeAngelis ]. Not every air catastrophe is an accident, unfortunately. Bennett estimated that about 10 percent of crashes are caused by sabotage [source: Bennett ].
Intentional crashes often have been caused by bombs planted on airliners, such as the explosive device in a suitcase that the FBI says Libyan agents planted on Pan Am Flight , which blew up in the air over Scotland in , killing people [source: FBI ].
Other airliners have been hijacked and deliberately crashed, such as in the September 11, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon [source: National Security Archive ]. Still other airliners have been shot down, such as the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was downed by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine in [source: CNN ]. There's also a rare, but even more disturbing, scenario, in which a suicidal pilot decides to take his life and those of his crew and passengers by deliberately crashing the aircraft.
That compilation includes a controversial EgyptAir crash off the coast of Massachusetts that killed people. The U. The remainder of accidents, about 10 percent, are caused by errors made by humans other than flight crews, such as mistakes made by air traffic controllers , maintenance engineers and others, according to Bennett [source: Bennett ]. Mistakes in the tower can be dangerous. In , for example, after a collision between a commuter plane and a jet airliner cleared to land on the same runway killed 34 people, the NTSB eventually faulted the local air traffic control management for not putting in place needed safety procedures, and was critical of the FAA for its failure to provide policy direction and oversight [sources: NTSB , Malnic ].
Fortunately, controllers don't make many miscues. A FAA study found that U. Only 41 of those miscues were deemed "high risk" mistakes, but the FAA concluded that seven of them might have resulted in catastrophic accidents [source: Halsey ]. Maintenance mistakes also can cause crashes. In , the crash of Japan Airlines Flight that killed people was linked to a faulty repair performed years before.
That had allowed fatigue cracks to spread and weakened the bulkhead, which eventually resulted in a catastrophic failure [source: FAA ]. HowStuffWorks picks related titles based on books we think you'll like. Should you choose to buy one, we'll receive a portion of the sale. Many years ago, I was on an airliner that was descending to land at Los Angeles International Airport, when it suddenly soared back high into the air.
The pilot came on the public-address system to explain that another jet was on the runway where we were supposed to land. It had been a scary moment, but I was reassured by how the pilot had spotted the problem and used his skills to keep us safe. Commercial airliners crash for all kinds of reasons, but they crash very rarely and airline travel is statistically very safe. Asiana Airlines flight , which crashed in while landing at San Francisco International Airport, was blamed on flight crew and pilot error.
Just 6 to 10 percent of air crashes are related to weather. Libyan agents planted a bomb on Pan Am Flight on December 21, The plane exploded midair over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing people. The air traffic control tower at Manchester Airport in the U. Sources Air Accidents Investigation Branch.
March 26, January March 12, March 30, May 8, July 5, March March 31, Telephone interview. March 19, International Air Transport Association. April March 13, Los Angeles International Airport. Los Angeles, California.
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