Plane Crash Causes | What are the causes of Aircraft Accidents?

Plane Crash

What are the Causes of Aircraft Accidents? Why Plane Crash?

Aviation accidents can happen due to many reasons, Aviation accident may happen due to Pilot error, Air Traffic Controller error, Design and Manufacturer Defects, Maintenance Failures, Sabotage, or Bad Weather.

Why Planes Crash

Aviation Experts uses a team of investigators and top experts to examine and analyze every aspect of an aviation accident, including what occurred prior to the flight, what transpired in the moments preceding the accident, and what occurred as the accident was taking place, in order to determine why planes crash. To ensure that all potential causes of the air crash are examined, investigators evaluate corporate policies that may have had an impact on the actions of those involved, listen to evidence preserved in the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR), and examine the salvaged aircraft remains. After the inquiry is finished, they pursue personal injury and wrongful death claims using the proper culpability theories, such as airline, pilot, controller, or product liability.

What Causes Planes to Crash?

Over the past decades, th experience handling aviation accidents has provided aviation people with comprehensive understanding of the many common reasons why planes crash.

Following are some of the most fatal aviation accident happened due to different causes:

Human Factors in Aviation

According to Plane Crash reports, between 1950 and 2010, 53 percent of fatal accidents involving commercial aircraft occurred worldwide. While that figure may seem excessive, keep in mind all the responsibilities that pilots have, including navigating through hazardous weather, handling mechanical problems, and performing secure takeoffs and landings. When pilots misinterpret or underestimate flight equipment, weather circumstances, or mechanical issues, they frequently result in aviation accidents. Considered to be the main factor in crashes, pilot mistake.

Crew Member Mistakes

A plane crash can result from mistakes made by the crew as well as pilot error, making human error just one of several potential contributing factors. Even though a crash might not occur, staff members who neglect to properly store luggage or carry out their tasks on board could cause serious injuries to the passengers.

The Tenerife airport catastrophe, which happened on March 27, 1977, remains the accident with the largest number of airliner passenger fatalities and is an illustration of how human error contributes to why planes fall. At Los Rodeos Airport on the Canary Island of Tenerife, Spain, a KLM Boeing 747 attempted to take off without flying permission and crashed with a taxiing Pan Am 747, killing 583 people. Only 61 of the 396 passengers and crew aboard the Pan Am plane and all 234 aboard the KLM aircraft survived. The main reason was pilot error because the KLM captain started his takeoff run before getting clearance from air traffic control.

Other contributory reasons included dense fog and a terrorist attack at Gran Canaria Airport that resulted in numerous planes being diverted to Los Rodeos, a smaller airport that was ill-prepared to handle large aircraft. The Pan Am plane was not visible to the KLM flight crew until just before the accident. Particularly in the domain of communication, the catastrophe left a long-lasting impression on the industry. Both controllers and pilots alike put more of a focus on utilizing standardized language while communicating with air traffic control (ATC). Additionally, "Cockpit Resource Management" has been introduced into training for flight crew. The joint crew involvement is welcomed throughout aeroplane operations, and the captain is no longer seen as infallible.

In mid-flight over Charkhi Dadri, India, on November 12, 1996, Saudi Flight 763 and Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907 collided. The Kazakh pilot was mostly to blame for the incident since he was flying below the allowed clearance height. The 2 aircraft's 349 occupants, both passengers and crew, perished. It is still the deadliest mid-air collision ever recorded. To prevent aeroplane from flying in different directions at the same altitude, the Ramesh Chandra Lahoti Commission, which was appointed to investigate the causes, suggested establishing the "semi-circular rule". Setting a global standard for the deployment of TCAS, the Indian Civil Aviation Authorities made it necessary for every aircraft travelling into and out of India to be fitted with a Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS).

American Airlines Flight 965, December 20, 1995

This nighttime aircraft from Miami, Florida crashed into the peak of an Andean mountain at a height of around 8,900 feet, just 40 miles from its intended destination in Cali, Colombia, killing all but four of the 163 person (Passenger plus Crew) on board. The two pilots of the flight made a number of operational mistakes, according to the investigators. The main error they made involved incorrectly entering heading instructions into an automatic flight management system, which led to the jet entering an unfamiliar and risky landing approach. The investigation also discovered that the ground proximity warning system on the 757 was insufficient. The inquiry report raised the possible overreliance of pilots on automated flight systems, which prompted the NTSB to give broad recommendations to remedy the issue. In order to create redundancy in this area, the FAA mandated that the majority of passenger aircraft registered in the United States employ an Early Ground Proximity Warning System. The input codes for all electronic navigational systems around the world were also instructed to be standardized.

Aircraft Maintenance Negligence

Cutting shortcuts and outsourcing aircraft maintenance and inspections is a major trend in the aviation sector. Airlines now frequently perform the bare minimum to keep planes in the air, which is directly related to the reasons why flights crash.

With 520 persons killed on board a Boeing 747, the crash of Japan Airlines Flight 123 on August 12, 1985, is the single-aircraft tragedy with the highest death toll. An incorrectly repaired aft pressure bulkhead that ruptured mid-flight caused an explosive decompression that nearly rendered the 747 uncontrollable by severing all of its hydraulic cables and much of its vertical stabilizer. After the technical failure, the pilots were able to maintain the aircraft in the air for 32 minutes before it crashed into a mountain. 505 out of the 509 passengers on board as well as all 15 crew members perished.

During a helicopter flyover of the crash site, Japanese military officers incorrectly believed there were no survivors. Rescue efforts weren't started until the morning. A number of passengers survived the impact and almost certainly would have survived the tragedy had rescue operations not been delayed, according to medical professionals involved in the rescue and analysis activities. Four passengers were still alive when they were released from the hospital, showing they completely survived the incident.

Aircraft Design and Manufacturing Defects

Inadequate aeroplane designs should result in design engineers being held accountable.

Lion Air Flight 610, a scheduled domestic passenger flight from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport to Pangkal Pinang's Depati Amir Airport, was involved in a recent aircraft accident as a result of poor design. All 189 passengers and crew perished on October 29, 2018, when the Boeing 737 MAX that was flying the route crashed into the Java Sea 13 minutes after takeoff. The new Boeing 737 MAX series of aircraft was introduced in 2017, and this accident was the first significant one involving them. It also had the highest death toll of any accident or incident involving any of the Boeing 737 models—Original, Classic, Next Generation, or MAX—beating out Air India Express Flight 812 in 2010. It was also the second deadliest aircraft accident in Indonesia after Garuda Indonesia Flight 152. It surpassed the 2004 Lion Air Flight 538 tragedy, which claimed 25 lives, as the deadliest incident in Lion Air history.

Soon after, the search and rescue efforts of the Indonesian government located debris and human remains from a 280 km (150 nmi) wide area. Two days after the collision, the first victim was located. On November 1, the flight data recorder was discovered and collected for examination. During recovery efforts, one member of the volunteer rescue squad passed away.

The MAX series' Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) was found to have a design flaw that caused serious flight control issues that traumatized passengers and crew on the aircraft's previous flight as well as indications of failures of an angle of attack (AOA) sensor and other instruments on that and previous flights. In order to prevent the MCAS from causing similar issues, the US Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing sent alerts and training recommendations to all MAX series operators. However, these recommendations were not fully followed, and the design flaws were thought to have contributed to the accident of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019, leading to the global grounding of all MAX planes.


People frequently come to the conclusion that weather is a significant factor in why planes crash. Although it has been calculated that weather plays a role in 13% of all aviation crashes, weather is rarely the only factor at play. If there are hazardous weather conditions, most flights are grounded, and failing to do so could be considered negligent. Pilots and crew should be able to function well in emergencies even when poor weather sneaks up on pilots and air traffic controllers.


Approximately 9% of all aviation crashes are the result of sabotage. The hijackings on September 11, 2001, the crashes of Germanwings flight 9525 and Egypt Air flight 990 are undoubtedly some of the most well-known sabotage crashes in recent memory.

In terms of casualties on both the ground and in aeroplanes, the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center in New York City was the deadliest sabotage-related aviation tragedy. Four commercial jet aircraft were kidnapped after takeoff on that morning's transcontinental flights from East Coast airports to California. As part of a planned suicide plot by 19 Islamic terrorists connected to Al-Qaeda against significant American landmarks, the four hijacked aircraft were later destroyed. In less than two hours, the World Trade Center's North and South Towers were both destroyed when American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 deliberately crashed into them.

The two towers' occupants or emergency responders made up the vast majority of the 2,753 fatalities from the World Trade Center crashes. Additionally, American Airlines Flight 77's hit with the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, which resulted in serious damage and partial destruction to the structure's west side, caused 184 deaths. All 40 occupants of United Airlines Flight 93 were killed when the plane crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, when passengers were attempting to regain control of the aircraft from the hijackers.

This increased the number of deaths caused by the September 11 attacks to 2,996 overall (including the 19 terrorist hijackers). The 9/11 crashes were not categorized as accidents but as premeditated terrorist attacks that killed many people. The United States and the NATO members regarded the incidents as acts of war and terrorism. In response to the assaults, the United States and NATO later declared war on terror.

On June 23, 1985, an explosion in the cargo hold of Air India Flight 182, a Boeing 747-237B travelling from Toronto and Montreal to London and Delhi, caused the plane to crash off the southwest coast of Ireland. 22 crew members and all 307 passengers perished. A single traveler checked in as "M. Singh." Singh didn't get on the plane. But the bomb was loaded onto the plane in his bag. M. Singh was never located or apprehended. It was eventually discovered that Sikh radicals were responsible for the blast as payback for the Indian government attacking the Golden Temple in Amritsar, which is particularly significant to the Sikh community. This was the deadliest terrorist act involving an aircraft at the time.

Airline Corporate Negligence

The corporate airline sector prioritises efficiency, quick turnaround, and cost-cutting over public safety. Corporate rules pressure pilots and crew to fly with the least amount of fuel possible, make unsafe landings to minimize paperwork, and take other risky decisions. Uncaring businesses have recently taken a significant role in the causes of aviation crashes. We think there needs to be an instant change in the corporate culture and airline practices that are to blame for these tragedies.

Air Traffic Controller Negligence

Numerous runway accident cases and midair collisions, including one at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in which a federal air traffic controller’s negligence resulted in a US Airways plane landing on a SkyWest plane in 1991. In this collision 35 people died and 29 were injured. This case was an example of how even the briefest moment of inattention from someone involved, even remotely, in a plane’s operation can lead to tragedy.

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