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Common Causes of Aviation Accidents in Alaska

Common Causes of Aviation Accidents in Alaska

The state of Alaska has the highest rate of aviation crashes in the U.S. In fact, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), 25 people were killed or seriously injured in Alaskan aviation crashes in 2015 alone. Why is the risk of accidents so high in Alaska? What is causing these accidents and others across the nation?

Here’s what you need to know.

The Most Common Causes of Airplane Crashes Include:

1. Errors Made by the Pilot

Pilot error accounts for nearly half of all plane crashes. Pilots must have the necessary training and experience to handle a variety of adverse situations. If they make rash or improper decisions, or lack the necessary training, they may be held liable for an airplane accident. Pilots are responsible for performing safe maneuvers both on the ground and in the air. One wrong action could result in a fatal crash.

Pilot errors include:

  1. Failing to recognize mechanical failures in a timely manner
  2. Performing incorrect maneuvers during takeoff and landing
  3. Misreading equipment and mechanical instruments
  4. Misjudging weather conditions

Pilots owe a duty of care to passengers and other aircraft. If they negligently breach this duty of care and cause a crash, they must be held accountable in court. You trust a pilot to have the training and experience to fly the plane safely to its destination. Whether you are in a commercial airline or a small charter jet, you have the right to pursue compensation against a negligent or careless pilot.

2. Mechanical Failure

Mechanical failure is the second leading cause of aviation accidents in the U.S. This happens when certain components of the aircraft break down or fail to function properly. Improperly designed parts could be the cause of the accident, making the manufacturer liable. In other situations, a defective or broken part may cause a crash. While pilots are expected to take necessary steps to remedy a hazardous situation, sometimes the mechanical breakdown may be too severe for the pilot to handle.

Types of mechanical errors include:

  1. Engine failure
  2. Wing failure
  3. Cargo door failure
  4. Stabilizer failure

In some cases, outside forces contribute to mechanical errors. Flocks of birds have been known to cause enough damage to result in a crash. Other times, weather could cause mechanical failure, putting the pilot and passengers at risk for an accident. The pilot and maintenance crew have the responsibility to ensure all components of the aircraft are in proper working condition before takeoff. If they negligently fail to do so, they may be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit.

3. Inclement Weather Conditions

Bad weather accounts for numerous aviation crashes each year. Poor weather may make it difficult for the pilot to see properly, and it could also result in mechanical failure. Although air traffic controllers ground flights when bad weather is approaching, sometimes a storm may appear suddenly or grow stronger than expected, putting the pilot and passengers at risk.

Bad weather conditions may involve:

  1. Wind
  2. Rain
  3. Lightning
  4. Hail
  5. Fog

If lightning strikes a plane, it could cause engine fires, electrical malfunctions, and other mechanical errors. Furthermore, fog may make it difficult to navigate and nearly impossible to land safely. Milder weather conditions could also cause a plane to crash. While pilots should be trained to handle bad weather, severe conditions are often unpredictable and dangerous.

Understanding the Particular Hazards of Flying in Alaska

Alaska is known for its mountain ranges and harsh weather patterns. This puts pilots and passengers at greater risk of a crash. Pilots must navigate complex mountain ranges with high peaks, jagged cliffs, and deep gorges. Sometimes, fog or storms could make it difficult to see. In fact, "controlled flight into terrain" accidents, which occur when the pilot mistakenly runs the plane into the ground, are common. Mid-air collisions between two aircraft also result in numerous injuries and deaths each year.

Alaskans rely on airplanes to travel many places. Towns can be remote, and using a plane is more cost-effective than driving a long distance. Pilots must be well trained and use extreme caution when flying through mountain ranges or in bad weather to help avoid an accident.

Our Alaska Aviation Accident Attorneys Are Ready to Help. Call (800) 405-2092 Today.

Airline accidents often have devastating results. If you or a loved one have been injured in a plane crash, our Anchorage airplane accident lawyers at Power & Brown, LLC will guide you through the legal process. Pilots, airlines, air traffic controllers, and maintenance crews must be held accountable for negligence. We will conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence, and help you seek justice from those responsible.

Contact us today to receive a free case evaluation. We have recovered millions of dollars in settlements on behalf of injured clients.