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05/15/09   |   By

Pilots Broke Rules Prior To Fatal Crash | DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog

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Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, Esquire

An accident survey conducted by PlaneCrashInfo.com of 1,843 aircraft accidents from 1950 through 2006 established “the causes to be as follows:

  • 53%: Pilot error
  • 21%: Mechanical failure
  • 11%: Weather
  • 8%: Other human error (air traffic controller error, improper loading of aircraft, improper maintenance, fuel contamination, language miscommunication etc.)
  • 6%: Sabotage (bombs, hijackings, shoot-downs)
  • 1%: Other cause

The survey excluded military, private, and charter aircraft.”

It’s possible that the recent fatal airplane crash involving Continental Flight 3407 was at least in part due to pilot error, according to today’s Washington Post report.  A co-pilot was reported to have been “shocked” and potentially panicked when the windshield of the plane starting taking on ice, a major safety problem.  Among other things, the pilots starting telling stories about their experience (or lack of it) dealing with icing, potentially distracting them from a serious hazard.  The “pilots’ talking violated federal rules that limit conversation in the cockpit to operational matters, particularly during takeoff and landing”, stated the report.

The Continental flight went down on February 12, and it took more lives (50 in all) than any U.S. transportation disaster in the last seven years, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).  NTSB just yesterday began public hearings into the incident. “Safety investigators have already said the ice had a minimal impact on the plane’s performance; instead, the focus is on how the pilots reacted”, comments the Post article.

Whether operating a a lawn mower, passenger vehicle, large commercial tractor-trailer, or a plane, operators must be sure they are abiding by applicable safety standards, and must further use common sense.  Some accidents can and should be avoided if proper care is taken.  If not, tragedy can result.

Many Americans are killed or injured each year in airplane and other vehicle crashes.  If you want more information about your legal rights, please click here or call the law firm of Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC  at (202) 463-3030.

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