Common Causes of Aviation Accidents
Aviation accidents may be less common than a motor vehicle crash, but they are far more devastating when they do occur. The most common causes of these types of accidents include:
Pilot ErrorPilot error causes about 50 percent of plane crashes every year. While this may seem like an unreasonably large percentage, it makes sense when you consider just how much pilots need to do from the cockpit to keep the plane flying safely - they need to handle any mechanical issue that comes up, navigate all types of weather conditions, execute a proper takeoff and landing, etc. A simple misjudgment could lead to a catastrophic crash, though crashes could also be caused when the pilot becomes incapacitated mid-flight due to anything from a head injury to a heart attack.
Mechanical FailureAbout 22 percent of plane crashes are caused by mechanical failure. Unlike pilot error, this type of failure could leave the crew without any way to fix the issue while in the air. Mechanical failure could be caused by anything ranging from faulty design to poor or incomplete work done by engineers during its most recent service.
WeatherWeather conditions cause approximately 12 percent of all plane crashes. Even though most flights are kept on the ground when a dangerous weather system appears on the radar, storms previously deemed safe can increase in intensity without warning and unexpected storms can catch pilots and air traffic controllers unawares. Lightning strikes are especially dangerous - when they strike a plane mid-flight, it can temporarily disable or even permanently damage vital systems.
SabotageSabotage may only make up about 9 percent of plane crashes, but draws the most media attention. Some crashes are caused by actions taken by terrorists, militia groups or extremists, though others are caused by actions taken by individuals acting of their own accord without consideration of a larger purpose or ideal.