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How frequently do aviation accidents occur?

It happens everyday - residents in Montana use airplanes as a mode of transportation. Whether it is on a commercial flight or private aircraft, passengers often consider their safety during a flight. While flying is often considered a safe alternative to long distance drives, this does not mean that errors in the air do not occur. Because of this, it is important that passengers and their loved ones understand what rights are afforded to them following a plane crash.

How frequently do aviation accidents occur? According to the National Transportation Safety Board or NTSB, there were a total of 1298 aviation accidents in 2013. Of those incidents, 236 were defined as fatal accidents, which resulted in 429 fatalities. These numbers include aircrafts falling in three different categories - air carriers, general aviation and commuter and on-demand carriers - which involve private and commercial airlines.

According to statistics provided by the NTSB, the accident rate for commercial flights has been on a decreasing trend since 2011. In 2013, there were less than 3 accidents per every million departures and less than 2 accidents per every million flight hours. On the other hand, private flights have shown an increasing trend in accident rates. In 2013, roughly 24 per every million flight hours and accident occurred and about 11 accidents occurred every million departures.

What is a common cause or the defining event of an aviation accident? For commercial flights, the most common cause was abnormal runway contact. This is followed by turbulence encounter, cabin safety events and controlled flight into terrain. For small or private aircrafts, the reports indicated the defining event most commonly causing an accident was system malfunction. This was followed by loss of control-inflight, birds and a collision with an obstacle during takeoff and landing.

While these statistics are not exhaustive, they illustrate the general rate and trend of aviation accidents. Moreover, the defining events are often those controlled by the pilot. Therefore, it is important to understand if errors or negligence by the pilot was the cause of a crash.

If pilot error or negligence is the cause of a plane crash, those harmed or killed in the crash might have recourses. A personal injury suit or a wrongful death suit could help victims and their loved ones recover compensation for the losses and damages arising from the incident. Seeking guidance from a legal professional could help victims or family members of the deceased make an informed decision in their matter.

Source: Ntsb.gov, "Aviation: Data & Stats," accessed Oct. 16, 2015

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