Pilots’ Roles in Loss-of-Control Aviation Accidents

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According to the Federal Aviation Administration, loss-of-control accidents were responsible for almost 1,200 deaths between 2008 and 2014.  They accounted for about half of all fatal fixed-wing aviation accidents during that time.  And pilot error was the leading cause for such catastrophes.

Takeoff and Landing Aviation Accidents

A loss-of-control accident covers any incidence when an aircraft perilously departs from controlled flight.  Loss-of-control accidents pose the most dangers during initial climbing after takeoff, and landing approaches.  Bad weather can cause the pilot to lose control.  A distracted pilot can lose control of his or her aircraft.  There are a variety of other reasons for this deadly occurrence.

But the pilot’s actions – or inactions – are the focal point when such disasters happen.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates aviation crashes for the federal government, put preventing loss-of-control general aviation accidents on its Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements for 2017-2018.

The FAA has instituted a year-long educational program aimed at pilots to help reduce these often fatal aviation accidents.  The program involves a different solution each month.  The most recent solution calls for pilots to establish a set of “personal minimums” to better ensure a safe flight.  The agency goes so far as to recommend that pilots write down these personal minimums and review them before each flight.

What Pilots Should Consider Before Flight to Avoid Accidents

These safety considerations have been grouped together under the acronym of PAVE, which stands for: Pilot, Aircraft, enVironment, and External pressures.  All are leading contributors to loss-of-control accidents.  And all are under the pilot’s control.

Per the FAA, pilots should take honest stock into their fitness and training before each flight – are they well rested, are they distracted by stress, are they adequately trained on the aircraft.

In terms of the aircraft, pilots should make sure it has been well maintained between flights and properly inspected before takeoff.

Pilots must check on weather (enVironment) conditions and be confident they can safely fly in any forecasted challenges.

And finally, pilots must guard against bowing to outside pressures – economic or social – to fly when the most pertinent conditions dictate the flight should be delayed.

Pilots’ bad or careless judgments either before or during flight often cause loss-of-control accidents.  When these accidents kill innocent victims, those responsible should be held accountable.

If you lost a loved one in an airplane crash, an aviation accident attorney, experienced in conducting detailed investigations, can pursue justice on your behalf.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.

Authored by: Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C. posted in Blog on March 9, 2017