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Why Plane Crashes Happen

November 23, 2015 · FLEMING | NOLEN | JEZ, L.L.P.

Trips on airplanes can be terrifying in and of themselves. With incidents like the American Airlines Flight 587, it can be worrying to think that someone else’s negligence can lead to such a significant tragedy. However, even with today’s technology and advancements in engineering, mistakes still happen. Although not common, airplane crashes still happen. Some can occur unexpectedly, while others can be prevented. If you ever wondered what could lead aircrafts to crash, we’ve compiled a list of common reasons.

Mechanical Errors

Mechanical errors make up over 20% of all aviation accidents. This refers to failures in the plane and operating system resulting in an airplane accident. It can be difficult for pilots to control a failing critical system. The failure can be due to a defect in the design of the machine or it can be because the systems were not properly maintained. Taking care of the plane is vital for proper functioning. There are specific protocols all pilots, airports, and plane engineers must adhere to for safe travels.

Pilot Errors

Humans make mistakes; it is an undeniable fact. However, when the lives of other passengers are at risk, these mistakes can be fatal and should be avoided at all cost. Pilots are trained to prepare for many different emergencies. They are taught how to conduct themselves in different scenarios. If they fail to do so, they endanger not only their lives, but the lives of others on the plane.

Pilots must navigate through turbulent weather. At times, they must fly long periods of time. The high altitude can affect their physical health. They must also make judgement calls in times of crisis. Miscalls in any of these areas can lead to an accident. Human error can be harmful and, at times, avoidable.


The weather is another key factor in why plane crashes occur. It can be unpredictable and difficult to navigate. Even if the day starts clear and bright, dark clouds can take over, causing a storm. According to researchers, 12% of plane accidents occur because of weather hazards. Conditions such as storms, rain, heavy winds, fog, and lightening can all sneak up on a pilot. It can be particularly difficult to maneuver through, especially if the plane is already in flight. These circumstances can negatively affect the aircraft, messing up the systems and leading to a crash.

Intentional Errors

The attacks that occurred on September 11th show that not all plane crashes occur on accident. Some happen because of intentional sabotage. There are individuals who want to cause harm to others. Although these incidents garner a lot of media attention, they account for 9% of all plane crashes.

At Fleming | Nolen | Jez, LLP, we believe you are entitled to a safe plane ride. If you or your loved one has suffered because of a plane crash, you may be entitled to compensation. Our aviation accident attorneys serve victims in Houston, as well as across the nation. Whether you were involved in a commercial plane accident, a helicopter accident, or a private plane accident, we can help. We have years of experience and use it to aggressively fight for our clients. Call today for a free consultation.