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What are some of the leading causes of aviation accidents?

Aviation accidents are inherently unpredictable. However, certain factors and threats are known to make a plane crash more likely. Montana pilots hear about a lot of aviation accidents annually and their awareness of known threats is a critical part of aviation safety.

Collisions with birds are rare. But when they occur, bird collisions can result in catastrophic damage to the aircraft. Many airports have programs to control birds. Aircraft with a strong structural design are better able to withstand bird collisions.

Other aviation hazards that are responsible for accidents include a lack of cabin or cargo safety. Incorporating seat belt rules as well as setting limits for carry-on baggage are two developments that have helped to maintain cabin safety. Proper handling of potentially hazardous substances that may cause fire or smoke is critical to maintaining cargo safety.

Proper resource management of the cabin crew also needs to be implemented in order to reduce aviation accidents. Crew resource management training is conducted to reduce the risk of accidents caused by human error.

Fuel exhaustion is another leading cause of aviation accidents. Fuel exhaustion can result from fuel leaks, navigation errors or mismanagement of the fuel system. Loss of fuel to an engine often results in a crash.

Fuel tank ignition is a safety hazard that can result in a catastrophic explosion. Reducing the likelihood of fire or sparks in the vicinity of the fuel tanks has helped reduce this risk. The FAA has been looking at additional approaches to reduce this risk.

When a loved one is killed in an aircraft accident, surviving family members are entitled to know the reason for the crash. Working with an experienced aviation accident attorney can help them get answers and potentially compensation for their loss.

Source: FAA.org, "Accident threat categories", accessed on Jan. 21, 2015

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