As the number of flights per day increases year after year, the number of airplane accidents has also increased. Though flying is a statistically safe way to travel (compared to driving, for example), when accidents do happen, severe injuries and a high number of casualties are likely to result. Furthermore, the causes of airplane accidents are often outside the control of the passengers.
- Pilot error: Pilots are professionals who are expected carry out their duties efficiently, accurately, and reliably. When they fail to do so, accidents are much more likely to occur. Dangerous pilot mistakes include: ignoring unsafe weather conditions, failing to communicate with air traffic controllers, misjudging a landing or takeoff, failing to perform necessary mechanical checks, miscalculating the amount of fuel needed for a flight, or flying too close to other aircraft.
- Faulty equipment/Faulty design: If an airplane is not properly maintained or inspected, the chance of a dangerous equipment malfunction spikes. Errors on the part of an airplane’s design team can lead to potentially hazardous flaws.
- Violation of regulations: the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strictly regulates almost all aspects of air travel to ensure the safety of pilots and passengers alike. Breaking these laws creates dangerous situations where accidents are likely to happen.
- Air Traffic Controller error: When taking off and landing, pilots rely heavily on information and guidance provided by air traffic controllers on the ground. If this information is incorrect, inaccurate, or negligently obtained, serious collisions may occur.
Accidents are rarely due to only one of the above reasons. Typically, multiple factors, such as a tired pilot flying in adverse weather conditions and dealing with a technical issue with the aircraft, will combine to contribute to the incident.