Piloting an airplane is one of the most exhilarating things a human can experience. However, some people have fear or anxiety regarding aviation accidents. While aviation accidents are relatively uncommon, the fear of experiencing such an accident may be enough to keep some people out of the skies.

However, if you’re committed to being a conscientious and careful pilot, the risks of an accident occurring are close to zero. Continue reading to learn more about aviation accident rates, some of the most common causes, and how to avoid them.

How Safe Is Flying?

Small, private aircrafts are the easiest to fly because smaller planes have less room for error. Irrespective of the size of the plane or the cargo, pilots must be extra vigilant about safety and follow all safety protocols rigorously. According to a 2022 safety report by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), there is a 9.8% decrease in the global accident rate for last year vs. 2020. These outcomes reinforce the fact that air travel is a safe mode of transportation. According to a National Transportation Safety Board study, the fatal accident rate in general aviation was 1.049 accidents per 100,000 flight hours in 2020, compared to 2019’s rate of 1.064—these rates have only dropped year on year!

This increase in safety year on year can be attributed to several factors, like:

  • The introduction of new technology into the aviation industry
  • Increased training for pilots and crew members
  • New safety protocols for passengers

While we can understand how safe air transportation is, accidents and fatalities still occur. Understanding why and taking the necessary precautions can improve flight safety and experience.

What Causes Private Plane Crashes?

There are many causes of private plane crashes, but the most common of them is pilot error. The best way to avoid a crash is to make sure your pilot is well-trained and has experience with the type of plane they are flying.

Pilot Error

Flying an aircraft is a complicated task, and there are chances that the pilot makes mistakes—like all other humans! According to reports by the Boeing Statistical Summary of Commercial Jet Airplane Accidents, 17% of accidents occur in the takeoff phase (10% on takeoff and 7% on initial climb), accounting for 25% of the fatalities. Accidents can also happen due to insufficient pre-flight planning and inspection. Other common pilot errors include aircraft overloading, pilot oversights, incorrect fuel, etc.

Bad Weather

Sometimes, even the most experienced pilots find it difficult to manage a plane when flying in bad weather. That is because aircraft are vulnerable to hail, turbulence, and lightning. Poor visibility and strong winds can further complicate the flight.

Summers are particularly difficult for pilots because of the high likelihood of thunderstorms, which can arrive without warning and throw them off-guard, as opposed to winter storms, which are expected and come with some warning as they take time to develop.

Mechanical Faults

Mechanical failures can occur with any aircraft, but they are more prevalent in older planes or those that are not properly maintained. Many rules and regulations that apply to commercial aircraft do not apply to private ones; thus, poor maintenance and defective parts are the main reasons for mechanical failures.

Wildlife Strikes

While wildlife strikes are not a significant threat to aircraft, we can not forget that  74 aircraft were destroyed between 1990 and 2020 because of wildlife strikes. As airport grounds are a popular spot for birds, damage generally happens to the plane’s engine or the wing during takeoff and landing.

It’s important to note that accidents aren’t necessarily caused by any one factor but rather a combination of several different factors. As technology continues to improve and become more reliable, we will only see a further decrease in aviation accident rates.

If you have a flair for flying planes, contact Mach 1 Aviation. Our top-quality trainers, along with our state-of-the-art facility, will make sure you become a confident and skilled aviator. Call us on 818-390-9915 or contact us to fall in love with flying!