It is accurate to say that plane travel is among the safest modes of transportation. However, when aviation accidents do happen, the results are often catastrophic. There are no such things as minor airplane collisions or crash landings, these occurrences are devastating, life-altering events. Aviation accident rates have gone down in recent years, but the growing popularity of private jet travel and helicopter flights may soon reverse that trend.
In the United States, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) tracks aviation accident statistics and investigates aviation disasters.
In 2007, the National Transportation Safety Board estimated a total of nearly 24 million flight hours. Of these 24 million hours, 6.84 of every 100,000 flight hours yielded an airplane crash, and 1.19 of every 100,000 yielded a fatal crash. This is down from an all-time high of 9.08 accidents per 100,000 hours in 1994. These numbers are higher for private flights, but private flights are much harder to document due to lax government regulation and non-reporting. Private plane crashes have been on the decline since the 1980s, but user error and insufficient training still contributes to many more accidents than are necessary each year.
Statistics show that up to 80 percent of all aviation accidents can be attributed to human error. The most dangerous times include takeoff and landing and the time periods before and after these events. Pilot error is thought to account for 53% of aircraft accidents, with mechanical failure (21%) and weather conditions (11%) following behind.
How safe is air travel? Compare it to other major forms of transportation – with 0.04 deaths per 100 million miles traveled, train travel is much more dangerous than airplanes’ 0.01 deaths per 100 million miles. However, air travel is only as safe as the operator, the equipment, and the training procedures that underlie the flight itself. Without stringent training and controls, air travel is unsafe for private and commercial passengers.
No matter what the aviation accident statistics, one fact remains clear – investigating an aviation accident is time-consuming and complex. It’s also necessary when an aviation-related lawsuit is filed. If you have been injured in an airplane accident or your loved one has lost his or her life, don’t delay. Your time to file could be limited. Call an experienced, reputable law firm for the help you deserve. Panish Shea & Boyle represents personal injury victims nationwide. We have what it takes to fight for you in court and reconstruct what happened to you in the air. Call today for a free case consultation.