New York aviation attorney lists four high profile plane crashes that have been attributed to pilot error.
Statistics show that approximately 90 percent of all general aviation accidents are caused by pilot error. According to New York based aviation accident lawyer Jonathan C. Reiter of the Jonathan C. Reiter Law Firm PLLC, “Many of the most serious pilot errors in recent years have involved a failure to maintain “situational awareness.”
The attorney explains “This term can refer to many things, including failing to properly monitor instruments, gauges and controls on the aircraft, as well as external factors such as weather conditions and other aviation traffic. Failure to observe the sterile cockpit rule e.g. pilots engaging in personal, non-aviation related conversation during takeoff and landing, has also been a significant factor in several aviation crashes, since this behavior undermines pilot concentration and can detract from situational awareness during the most dangerous parts of the flight.”
What Several Plane Crash Investigations Have Revealed
Several aviation accidents have made headlines in recent years. Unbeknownst to some, a number of these have been determined by investigative agencies like the National Transportation Safety Board to have been caused by pilot mistakes. Attorney Jonathan C. Reiter has outlined the following list of 4 of the top headline-making aviation accidents that investigations have linked to pilot error.
- Crash of TransAsia Flight 235 – One of the aircraft’s engines experienced a flameout soon after takeoff from Taipei Songshan Airport, on February 4, 2015. The pilot then mistakenly shut off the engine that was functioning correctly, leaving the plane powerless. His subsequent attempt to restart both engines was unsuccessful, resulting in the plane clipping a bridge and crashing into the Keelung River. A reported 43 of the 58 people on board were killed.
- Crash of Air France Flight AF447 – In the June 2009 crash, the autopilot on the plane disengaged after the captain took a break. The co-pilot of the flight reportedly subsequently began to receive messages that were not consistent. An investigation found that the decision of the co-pilot to tilt the plane upwards in an attempt to respond to an issue with the plane’s speed sensors ultimately led to the crash. The passenger flight was scheduled from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Paris, France. All 228 people onboard were killed.
- Lion Air Flight 904 – The domestic passenger flight scheduled to fly from Husein Sastranegara International Airport in Bandung to Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali, Indonesia crashed on April 13, 2013 during the final approach short of runway. All 108 people aboard the aircraft survived; however, multiple people were injured. The cause of the crash was determined to be pilot error after it was concluded that the captain was not able to see the runway upon descent and handed control over to a co-captain at an altitude that was below the minimum required to be considered safe.
- Asiana Airlines Flight 214 – The transpacific passenger flight crashed at the San Francisco International Airport on July 6, 2013. Three passengers were killed as a result of the crash. Reports attribute the crash to a decrease in the plane’s speed that resulted in it landing short of the runway. This was caused by the pilot selecting the wrong autopilot mode. According to New York attorney Jonathan C. Reiter “this crash illustrates how a lack of monitoring awareness can lead to major problems even if the plane’s components are all in working order.” The crew realized how long the aircraft had been flying at 100 feet too late to make a correction.
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