Aviation, by its very nature, is a dangerous activity. Many times, people will dismiss the likelihood of small plane accidents, saying that being involved in a car crash is much more likely. While this is true in the sense that relatively few people are involved in aviation accidents, this is mostly because so many people are on the roads at any given time.
In reality, a catastrophic equipment failure on an airplane is much more serious than a comparable problem in a motor vehicle. For example, if the engine of a car stalls and comes to a stop, the car simply stops running and the driver can often pull onto the side of the road. An engine failure in a single-engine plane, however, often requires the pilot to make an unfamiliar emergency landing.
Another factor in private plane crashes is the age and questionable maintenance history of aircraft. In many cases, planes may have changed hands -- even countries -- over a period of decades. Problems unknown to pilots might suddenly come to the fore at unexpected times.
This week, a P-51 Mustang dating from World War II crashed near Galveston, Texas, killing both people on board. It isn't clear yet what led to the crash, but the plane was a literal museum piece: it was owned by the Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston. The plane, which was manufactured in 1944, also served time in the armed services in El Salvador in the 1960s.
It may take some time before this accident is fully understood. An experienced aviation accident attorney can often help grieving family members to sort out the aftermath of an airline crash.
Source: Fox News, "2 killed after museum's WWII-era plane crashes in Texas," Oct. 23, 2013