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Common Causes of Airplane Crashes

March 23, 2018 Aviation Blog

Although relatively rare, aircraft crashes can involve catastrophic injuries and death when they occur.

Engine or component failure

Problems with aircraft engines and component parts are among the most common causes of aircraft crashes.

A mid-flight engine failure is one of the most dangerous aviation emergencies, because it often causes the aircraft to lose lift and control. These failures can result from a wide variety of problems, including improper maintenance or inspection, fuel starvation, instrument failure, onboard computer or electronic component failure, software or hardware malfunctions, failure to follow proper flight procedure, among other things.

Maintenance or inspection failure

Modern aircraft are complex machines that require proper function of thousands and in some cases millions of parts. These parts must be continuously and properly inspected and maintained to keep aircrafts operating in safe condition. Engines and component parts typically have mandatory inspection and replacement schedules, and all replacement parts must be checked for any recalls or airworthiness directives that have been issued, and to ensure they are genuine parts that meet industry and governmental standards.

Design, manufacturing, or warning defect

Product defects can cause or contribute to aircraft disasters. Defective designs of an aircraft, its component parts, or its hardware and software systems can make aircrafts much more dangerous than necessary, especially in emergency situations. Manufacturing defects like a screw that breaks too easily, or an engine part that does not work as designed, can lead to catastrophic system failures and crashes. And insufficient warnings, instructions, and information can create needless and dangerous risks by preventing pilots and others from understanding how to safely operate an aircraft.

Human error

Despite highly advanced modern aviation systems, human error can cause or contribute to crashes. This can include pilot error, flight crew error, and air traffic controller error.