Commercial airliners are one of the safest ways to travel, but that is little comfort to anyone who has been involved in an airplane crash. Often, it is the little things that lead to accidents – a mistake on the part of the pilot, a small mechanical problem or improper loading of the aircraft. However, a small problem in the air can have major consequences.
That is why airplane designers, maintenance workers, pilots, and indeed everyone involved in airplane manufacture and operation need to be so precise.
Airplane Crash Causes
Approximately 80% of all airplane crashes occur around takeoff and landing. According to an accident survey done by PlaneCrashInfo.com of commercial airline crash data (1950-2006), about 53% of crashes were caused by pilot error. Mechanical failure (21%) and bad weather (11%) were the next two leading causes. About 8% of airline crashes were caused by other human error, including air traffic controller errors, maintenance problems, and miscommunications – especially as a result of language barriers.
But this doesn’t tell the whole story. It is rare that there is just one cause for an airplane crash. Often, it is a number of errors and events that unfold into catastrophic results.
For example, the deadliest airliner accident remains the collision between a Pan-Am flight and a Dutch KLM flight in Tenerife on March 27, 1977. The short version is that the KLM flight started down the runway without clearance to takeoff. Before it was able to lift off, it collided with the Pan-Am flight that was taxiing down the same runway.
However there were a number of other factors. A bombing at a nearby airport caused Tenerife to be much busier than normal. Dense fog had covered the whole airport, reducing visibility to zero. Miscommunications, garbled radio transmission, and use of non-standard language by the pilots of both planes and the control tower all played a part in the accident.
So who was to blame in this airplane crash? Both Pan-Am and Tenerife officials state that KLM’s failure to confirm takeoff clearance was the primary cause. However Dutch investigators claimed that Tenerife controllers were listening to a soccer game in the control tower at the time of the accident, and that the Pan-Am flight should have gotten off the runway when it heard the KLM pilot announce his takeoff.
Our Law Firm On Your Side
No matter who is to blame in your case, there is one thing you can be sure of: we are on your side. David P. Willis has years of experience helping victims of all kinds of airplane crashes including airliner accidents, private planes, charter and corporate plane crashes, and more.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an airplane crash, call us today for a free, no-obligation legal review of your case. We’ll help you determine who is to blame for the crash, how to go about securing compensation, and fight for your rights in a court of law if need be. Call David P. Willis today to get your free review started. Find out your rights before you decide your next move.