Most private aircrafts operate under a legal classification called, “general aviation.” General aviation is a term given to private flights that are non-commercial. Small aircraft, private jets, crop-dusters, and even non-commercial helicopters are all considered general aviation.

The vast majority of aircraft crashes in the United States are from small private planes, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). In 2014, they found that about 94 percent of total aviation accidents occurred in general aviation. Statistics show that general aviation aircraft average nearly seven accidents per 100,000 flight hours, compared with an average of 0.16 accidents per 100,000 hours for commercial airlines.

In this blog post, we’re going to examine several reasons why a fatal private aircraft crash could occur.

Pilots piloting an aircraft

Pilot Error

The majority of people who fly small planes do it as a hobby, rather than as a career. Naturally, this means they’re less experienced than a full-time, commercial pilot. The rules that govern commercial aircrafts and those who fly them are much stricter than for private pilots. Private pilots aren’t required to log as many flight hours prior to getting their pilot’s license.

Running out of fuel is surprisingly common for small aircrafts. This can be chalked up to human error, faulty gauges, or a combination of both. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) reports there are nearly two accidents per week due to aircrafts running out of fuel.

Weather Can Cause Aircraft Crashes

Inclement weather can play a significant role in airplane accidents. When flying over mountainous or rough terrain, small aircraft generally fly lower than your standard 737 jumbo jet. Therefore, the risk for crashing into terrain is significantly higher due to a combination of low altitude flying and weather. Severe rain, wind and lightning strikes can easily turbulence and poor visibility.

Aircraft Manufacturer Defects

In 2014, USA Today ran an expose on small aircraft crashes. According to the report, aircraft manufacturers regularly “…covered up problems, lied to federal regulators and failed to remedy known malfunctions.” The same investigation found that defective parts and dangerous designs may be the cause of small plane crashes that get blamed on pilot error.

Small Aircraft Accident Attorneys in Washington

If you or a loved one has been involved in a small aircraft crash, give the law offices of Herrmann Law Group a call at (253) 627-8142. Due to the often-complicated nature of small aircraft crashes, you need a reputable law firm with experience in this area.

At Herrmann Law Group, we have helped many victims seek justice and restitution in a court of law. Schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys to learn more about your rights and the next steps you should take.