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Do cultural issues contribute to aviation accidents?

As the National Transportation Safety Board continues its investigation into the fatal aviation accident in San Francisco last July, new details about the case have been leading investigators to examine cultural issues. Some are wondering whether culture might have been a factor in the plane crash.

The NTSB recently highlighted the poor communication and confusion that occurred in the cockpit as the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 was on its final approach to the San Francisco International Airport. Two of the three pilots in the cockpit told investigators they did not feel comfortable expressing their concerns about the aircraft's low elevation and low air speed to the senior pilot because they were subordinates. One pilot said he wanted to suggest something to the senior pilot handling the controls but did not.

An aviation consultant noted that cultural issues remain a concern in the aviation industry. Although not involved in the investigation of this crash, he asserted that cultural differences in the cockpit should be addressed by federal officials through pilot training. Even though these issues are important, he expressed more concern that the pilots failed to recognize the dangerous conditions that preceded the crash.

Investigations of fatal aviation accidents usually consider whether pilot error contributed to a crash. A pilot's lack of adequate training and poor judgment during a flight can lead to an unfortunate outcome for those on board the aircraft. Although most passengers of the Asiana crash survived, their experiences were likely to be emotionally traumatic.

Aviation accidents in Montana very often lead to aviation litigation. With a personal injury lawsuit, the victims of a crash can hold negligent parties accountable for injuries suffered in an accident. A wrongful death suit can help surviving family members achieve some sense of justice, as well as compensation for their loss.

Source: CBS SF Bay Area, "Asiana Crash Probe Renews Debate Over Culture In Aviation," Dec. 12, 2013

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