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U.S. Aviation Accidents Law Blog

NTSB has preliminary information on small plane crash

Some people in New York might have heard about a plane crash in Louisiana that happened on December 28. Five people died in the crash of the Piper PA-31T, which took off from Lafayette Regional Airport and was on its way to Atlanta. One person survived the crash and is in critical condition. Three people on the ground were also injured. According to a National Transportation Safety Board official, the plane never sent a distress call.

The NTSB reports that the plane made a left descending turn after reaching an altitude of about 900 feet. There was no response to a low altitude alert sent by air traffic controllers when the plane reached 700 feet. Witnesses said it hit power lines after a sharp left turn. The crash occurred in a post office parking lot around four miles from the airport. According to one witness, it skidded across the parking lot and burst into flames.

Data reveals that airline accidents declined in 2019

The year 2018 was a particularly grim year for the aviation industry. It saw 62 accidents and had a total of 523 fatalities. New York residents will likely be happy to learn that data from January 1, 2019, through December 2, 2019, shows 2019 to be a much better year.

From January 1 to June 15, 2019, 20 airline accidents occurred worldwide. Included in these accidents were one turboprop hull loss and three jet hull losses. There were 201 fatalities during that time that involved jet air crafts. The most memorable was the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302. This flight went down on March 10, 2019, just a few minutes after taking off from the airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. All 157 on board lost their lives in this crash. This prompted the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft on March 13.

Seeking accountability after airplane crashes

Major New York airline crashes can be seriously devastating. Because of the highly flammable fuel, massive equipment and heights involved in airline travel, an airplane crash can lead to significant numbers of fatalities as well as catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities. In addition to the deaths and injuries to passengers and members of the crew, people on the ground and their property may be at risk. While air travel is generally very safe, the unusual accident can be uniquely destructive. It can be particularly challenging to unravel questions of causation and liability after an airplane crash.

It is important to determine who exactly is at fault for a major commercial airline crash. Victims, families and even criminal authorities need to know who can be held accountable for the damage that was done. Because air travel is a significant public interest issue, federal regulators also want to be able to make necessary changes to prevent future similar accidents. There are a number of causes of commercial airline crashes that can be traced back to the airline operating the flight. Because they are considered common carriers, airlines have higher duties of care to their passengers than other types of businesses. Airline companies can be held accountable for pilot mistakes, poor maintenance or other problems linked to negligence.

Small plane crash kills three

New York residents should know that small airplane crashes lead to around 500 fatalities every year. One such crash occurred in San Antonio on the evening of Dec. 1 and killed all three people inside.

The single-engine plane, a Piper PA-24 Comanche, had departed Sugar Land and was headed for Boerne when engine trouble forced the pilot to divert its course to San Antonio International Airport. The plane crashed in a residential area just a mile from the airport.

Former NTSB investigator blames pilots for LionAir crash

New York readers might be interested to learn that a former U.S. government crash investigator disputes an Indonesian NTSC report that blames faulty software for the crash of LionAir Flight 610 in October 2018. The report was issued in October of this year.

The 322-page report found that the crash of the 737 MAX plane was caused by a complicated computer system known as MCAS, which is designed to point the aircraft's nose downward to prevent it from stalling. However, a former National Transportation Safety Board crash investigator and airline safety expert challenges that claim, saying it contains "many flaws in logic" and doesn't properly consider the facts.

Small plane crash kills nine and injures others

New York residents may have been saddened to hear about nine members of a family dying in a plane crash as they were returning from a hunting trip. Authorities say that those killed include the pilot, children and other family members. In addition to the individuals who lost their life, three members of the family were seriously injured and taken to a local hospital.

The plane was a Pilatus PC-12. It crashed just a few moments after takeoff. Despite inclement weather, law-enforcement agencies and other rescue personnel were able to assist in the rescue of the survivors.

Small plane crash deaths went up in 2018

New York readers might be concerned to learn that civil aviation deaths increased in 2018 according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Among the deaths was the first person to be killed on a commercial airliner in the United States in nine years.

The NTSB reports that there were 393 aviation deaths in 2018, which is 46 more than died in 2017. That means that there was an average of one aviation-related fatality per day last year. Almost all the deaths occurred in small, private aircraft. However, one of the deaths took place on a Southwest Airlines flight. On April 17, 2018, a woman was killed when an engine blew on the commercial airliner and shot shrapnel into the window next to her seat. The window broke, and she was partially sucked out of the plane. Other passengers managed to pull her back inside and start CPR, but she did not survive.

One state's rate of fatal plane crashes higher than average

Residents of New York may have heard that the National Transportation Safety Board discovered that the rate of fatal airplane crashes is higher in Alaska than the nationwide average. According to the NTSB's preliminary report for the calendar year of 2019, there have been 10 fatal airplane crashes. This isn't including the fatal crash at Unalaska Airport that occurred on Oct. 17, 2019, because there is no federal report for it yet.

In 2018, there were nine fatal airplane crashes, and in 2017, there were eight. The years 2015 and 2016 saw a total of 11 and 12 such crashes, respectively. In 2016, 5.4% of the nation's fatal airplane crashes, 221 in all, took place in Alaska despite the fact that this state contains less than 1% of the nation's entire population.

Plane investigation finds Boeing and pilot responsible for crash

Those in New York who regularly fly may be interested in the recent investigation into Boeing, the largest plane manufacturer in the world. The investigation came from Indonesian aviation experts who looked into the 2018 Lion Air Flight 610 plane crash. Investigators determined that design flaws in the 737 MAX Boeing plane contributed to the crash.

The plane crash under accident investigation occurred in Jakarta in October 2018. The plane plummeted into the Java Sea just minutes after takeoff and killed all 189 people on board. Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee linked nine factors of the crash to the airline, Boeing and the pilots. These factors included the design of the anti-stall system in the plane, 31 pages of the logbook that were missing, failure on the pilot's part to brief the co-pilot and the airline for not grounding the plane after earlier problems.

Small aircraft crash in Umstead State Park leaves 2 dead

New York residents should know that a small aircraft approaching Raleigh-Durham International Airport crashed near a creek in Umstead State Park on Oct. 27. The plane had disappeared on the radar that day at approximately 7:25 p.m., according to FAA air traffic control. This led to a search-and-rescue effort in the state park and the temporary closing of the airport runway.

The 5,200 acres of Umstead State Park are covered in dense forest, but a Highway Patrol helicopter sought for heat signatures as a way to find the airplane. At 10 a.m. on Oct. 29, crews found the downed plane. Two were killed in the crash but have not yet been identified. The reason for the crash is still unknown.

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