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Personal injury lawyer warns about aviation dangers

Just this past weekend, two people were killed in a small plane crash in New Hampshire, five in a small plane crash in Colorado, one in Florida, two in Texas, and one off the coast of Virginia among others.

An investigation by USA Today that was reported in the publication this summer talked about the lack of safety and hidden defects linked to small aircraft crashes. USA Today reported that nearly 45,000 people have been killed in crashes of small airplanes and helicopters since 1964. While federal investigators are often quick to blame pilots, USA Today found many instances in which defective parts and dangerous designs were the cause of crashes, deaths, and injuries. The USA Today investigation found that many defects have persisted as manufacturers covered up problems, failed to fix defects and lied to regulators. Apparently, some defective parts remained in use for decades, and some are still in use today.

Private Air Transportation to Blame

USA Today reported that the danger of private airplanes and helicopters, known as general aviation, far exceeds that of airline flying. They reported that in 2013, there were 1,199 general aviation crashes, more than three per day on average, killing 347 people, including 571 and destroying 121 aircraft. Statistics released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for 2012 general aviation accident statistics included 1,471 accidents and 271 fatal accidents. NTSB statistics showed that in 2012, 95 percent of the aviation accidents and 97% of the fatalities occurred in general aviation.

According to the New York Times, an October 2012 report from the Government Accountability Office found that the highest incidence of fatal accidents in general aviation occurred with single-engine piston airplanes, on personal flights, in which pilots lost control of their aircraft. In some cases, bad weather was to blame, and according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, nearly 75% of weather-related accidents are fatal.

The New York Times reported that five years ago the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) set a goal of reducing the accident rate in general aviation by 10% by 2018, but it has remained static, with the NTSB reporting an average of 1,500 aviation accidents a year, resulting in about 450 fatalities. Some of the new FAA safety programs include NextGen, an air traffic modernization program, and the Got Weather program, aimed at helping general aviation pilots prepare for potential weather challenges. The NTSB believes that adequate education and training and screening for risky behavior are critical to improving aviation safety.

According to the FAA, the top 10 leading causes of fatal general aviation accidents 2001-2011 are:

  1. Loss of flight control
  2. Controlled flight into terrain
  3. System component failure – powerplant
  4. Low altitude operations
  5. Unknown or undetermined
  6. Other
  7. Fuel related
  8. System component failure – non-powerplant
  9. Midair collisions
  10. Windshear or thunderstorm

The personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys are highly experienced in small plane crashes. The firm represented the families of several victims of a tragic small plane crash that killed seventeen passengers in Bear Creek Township, Luzerne County several years ago, helping to get a $32.25 million settlement, the largest personal injury settlement in the history of Luzerne County. For a free consultation with the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, call 855-866-5529.

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