Relatively speaking, flying really is safer than driving — but aviation accidents are on the rise in the United States. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), there was a 13% increase in aviation fatalities in this country during 2018. The vast majority involve private planes, rather than commercial aircraft.
Why are private plane accidents going up? In part, it’s because they’re being used more often. Small, private planes are often used by celebrities, athletes and business professionals of all kinds when they need to make a trip right away, and commercial travel isn’t convenient. Plus, personal planes and helicopters offer privacy, in addition to ease of use.
Any aviation accident has the potential to cause severe personal injuries and death, simply because of their nature. Most aviation accidents are due to some form of preventable negligence, like:
- Pilot error: This can include a pilot who flies while intoxicated or overly fatigued, as well as pilots who attempt risky maneuvers, fail to properly monitor their instruments or get distracted at a pivotal moment.
- Mechanical defects: This could be due to the negligent design of the aircraft or some of its parts. It could also be due to a lack of sufficient repairs or maintenance on the aircraft in between flights.
- Weather problems: Pilots know that flying in bad weather is dangerous — but private pilots sometimes take risks to please their clients. When there are storms, fog, wind or ice, a wise pilot proceeds with caution (if at all).
- Traffic control mistakes: Even the skies and runways can suffer from traffic problems. When the air traffic controller in charge of scheduling takeoffs and landings makes a mistake, the potential for an accident is huge.
If you are injured in an accident involving a private plane or helicopter or your loved one was killed, find out more about your legal right to compensation for your losses.