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Plane Crash Statistics – Fear of flying

Plane crash statistics


Airplanes have always been a source of fascination for many even today when the physics of flight is better understood. Advances in aviation technology have improved flight equipment design and operations, making air travel safer than it has ever been. However, accidents still happen as plane crash statistics will show.

Causes of Airplane Crashes

From the 1950s up to the current decade, the likelihood that an airline crash can be traced to some form of pilot error was around 50 percent according to data generated by An average of 15 percent of accidents traceable to pilot error involved weather-related factors while only 5 percent of pilot errors could be linked to mechanical issues.

Other factors that added to plane crash statistics include:
– Errors made by traffic controllers, maintenance and prep crews.
– Inclement weather that could not have been anticipated.
– Gross mechanical failure in the equipment.
– Sabotage, acts of terrorism and other causes are rare compared to the total number of scheduled flights in a given year.

Worst Air Crashes

In the U.S., the National Transportation and Safety Board is the federal agency responsible for investigating civil aviation accidents. Each nation has an NTSB equivalent, and these investigating agencies cooperate when the need arises. The Geneva-based Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives (B3A) is a comprehensive database of plane crash statistics worldwide.

Based on B3A records, these are the some of the worst aviation accidents:

1. On March 27, 1977, a Pan Am Airways jet collided with a KLM flight in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands. The ground collision between the two B747s resulted in 583 fatalities.

2. On August 12, 1985, Japan Airlines Flight crashed near Yokota Air Force Base near Tokyo. A total of 520 passengers and crew perished.

3. A Turkish Airlines DC-10 crashed while attempting takeoff in Paris on March 3, 1974, killing everyone on board: a total of 346 lives.

4. An Air India Flight crashed into the Atlantic Ocean en route to Vancouver, Canada. The DC-10 was ferrying 329 passengers and crew, all of whom perished on June 23, 1985.

5. A Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight crashed in New Delhi while attempting takeoff. The Boeing 747 accident took the lives of 312 passengers and crew.

6. A Lockheed L-1011 TriStar owned and operated by Saudi Arabian Airlines crashed on approach in Riyadh on August 19, 1980, taking the lives of 301 passengers and flight crew.

plane crash statistics

Plane Crash Statistics Examined

An NTSB study examined aviation statistics between 1983 and 2000. A total of 53,487 passengers were involved in aviation accidents in the period studied. Of this number, 95.7 percent or 51,207 lived to tell the tale. NTSB data indicate that the survival rate even in the most serious accidents is about 77 percent. In fact, the odds of perishing due to an accident on a single commercial flight is placed at one in 29.4 million. Based on overall numbers, odds of being in a plane crash is one in 11 million. Car passengers are at a higher risk of untimely death with the odds placed at one in 5,000.

In the U.S. alone, there are at least 7,000 aircraft in the friendly skies at any time. Globally, commercial flights ferry 2.5 billion passengers on scheduled flights based on 2009 averages. This number is predicted to grow up to 3.3 billion by 2014.

Safety in the Skies – Plane crash statistics

Plane crash statistics – To be clear, some airlines are safer than others, a fact highlighted by’s annual reckoning of the safety records of all the world’s airlines. Australia’s national carrier and perennial winner, Qantas, tops the 2013 list of the world’s safest air carrier, earning seven stars for zero fatalities since the 1950s. Other carriers that made it to the list are: Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Eva Air, Royal Jordanian, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

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