Sun, Jul 15, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Main causes of air accidents exposed

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Recent statistics released by the Aviation Safety Council (ASC) showed that pilots veering off runways accounted for a majority of aviation accidents in the last decade.

Those were followed by accidents resulting from abnormal contact with the runway upon landing or takeoff.

ASC statistics showed that a total of 29 major flight accidents had occurred from 1997 through last year. Eight accidents occurred when pilots drove off the runways while four resulted from abnormal contact with the runway.

While analyzing the factors leading to these accidents, it was found that 89 percent of accidents were the result of man-made errors.

Of those, 65 percent resulted from pilot error while 23 percent were the result of mistakes by ground crew and maintenance staff.

Thirty-nine percent of accidents were the result of weather factors, while 19 percent involved problems with the aircraft.

On average, plane crashes occurred at a rate of 0.8 per million flight hours.

Plane crashes involving propeller aircraft, for their part, occurred at a rate of 3.48 per million flight hours.

The number of accidents occurring yearly has decreased over the past decade.

The council's investigation also showed that the nation had seen a substantial growth in international flights, both in passenger and cargo flights.

Conversely, domestic flights suffered tremendously during the same period.

The number of passengers on domestic flights dropped 53.7 percent and close to 53 percent of domestic flights were canceled.

Since 1999, the council has completed the investigations of 36 accidents and made 357 recommendations to improve flight safety. More than half of those suggestions were intended for government organizations.

The council adopted the definitions of occurrences used by the International Civil Aviation Organization to categorize each accident.

The definitions of the US National Transportation Safety Board were used to investigate the causes of accidents.

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