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NTSB offers five safety alerts to prevent airplane accidents

In comparison to motor vehicle collisions, aircraft accidents are less frequent. However, the outcome from an aviation accident can be devastating for Montana residents, resulting in serious injuries, property damage and fatalities.

For these reasons, the National Transportation Safety Board, one of the two federal agencies that controls domestic air travel, recently issued five safety alerts to address the most common general aviation problems that lead to accidents. The NTSB notes that each year some 475 pilots and passengers die in aviation accidents. Other people sustain serious injuries in these incidents.

The safety alerts address low-altitude stalls, pilot spatial disorientation, controlled flight into terrain and mechanical problems, including aircraft condition. According to the NTSB chairman, in the 1,500 accidents the agency investigates around the country each year, the same causes occur over and over and are generally preventable.

The NTSB will offer short videos for each safety alert this spring. The videos will feature commentary from regional investigators about their experiences and observations from the many accident investigations they have conducted.

Focusing on the aviation accident prevention, however, may not be enough to keep an event from happening. Other factors that contribute to accidents include faulty equipment, pilot error, aircraft design problems and especially negligence. Negligence, according to NTSB investigators, can come from employees, pilots, federal air traffic controllers and other parties.

If any of the factors noted by the NTSB contribute to an aircraft accident, the negligent party may be legally responsible for damages and losses.

Aviation accidents are traumatic for their victims. However, these victims may be eligible to claim compensation, particularly if the other party is proven negligent. The compensation may cover hospitalization cots, loss of income and other costs. If the accident results in fatalities, families who have lost loved ones may recover compensatory damages through a wrongful death suit.

Source: Flyingmag.com, "NTSB Issues GA Safety Alerts," Stephen Pope, March 14, 2013

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