What Are The Four Most Common Aviation Accident Causes?

by Terry Bryant

Aviation accident causes are many, but most fall into four distinct categories: pilot error, mechanical failure, inclement weather, and air traffic controller error. Of the four, pilot error is by far the most common. No one is perfect and everyone makes a mistake sooner or later. Unfortunately, when a major mistake is made by a pilot, the consequences can be severe.

While flight is generally the safest way to travel, it can be considerably less safe in small planes with private pilots. A large percentage of accidents occur in private planes. Unfortunately, when things go wrong at high altitudes or during high-speed landings, the results can be fatal.

Mechanical failure is the next most common of the four aviation accident causes outlined here. Mechanical failure can occur for a variety of reasons, including improper installation, poor maintenance, or a manufacturing issue with one of the many parts onboard.

The third most common reason for aircraft accidents is inclement weather. Poor weather can cause numerous problems with an aircraft. Potential issues include ignition of fuel tanks or electrical outages by way of a lightning strike, or lack of visibility while attempting to navigate or land.

Air traffic controller error is the fourth most common cause of accidents. Generally speaking, air traffic controllers are highly trained and specialized professionals who operate with a variety of safeguards and protocols. However, every now and then something may go wrong, unfortunately with potentially dire consequences.