From a legal point of view, the causes of aircraft accidents can lead to a wide-ranging examination of who was responsible. Sometimes this can be the pilot; other times the aircraft manufacturer may be at fault. Even poorly-designed or maintained airport facilities or bad decisions by ground personnel can contribute to an injury-causing or fatal aviation mishap. Each such incident requires a thorough investigation of the facts to ensure that all possible legal defendants is identified, and that is one of the key roles of a Texas law firm that practices in aviation accident law.
If there is one thing that the federal government does well, it is to collect statistics. So it should come as no surprise that the Federal Aviation Administration has compiled a large body of information on why aircraft accidents happen, and has even ranked them in order of frequency. Some of these reasons will seem logical to you; others may come as a surprise. We present them here, with some additional comments.
- Loss of control while in flight.
- Flying into the ground (the FAA refers to this as “controlled flight into terrain,” suggesting pilot error as the cause). This may also be related to another identified cause, “low altitude operations.”
- Engine failure.
- Other system failure (including fuel-related problems).
- Midair collisions (an area that may soon increase in significance when the plethora of privately operated drones combines with low altitude operations).
- Weather-related (windshear or thunderstorms).
- Indeterminate causes (the FAA refers to these as “unknown or undetermined” and “other”).
Interestingly, however, the FAA seems to have missed what what the International Civil Aviation Organization claims is the top cause of aviation-related accidents – those that occur on the ground, frequently on takeoffs and landings.