We hear this a lot, but it still feels like accidents happen all of the time. Some of us are afraid of flying, myself included at one point.
Over the years, I’ve realised that flying is one of the biggest phobias on earth. Yet this fear is irrational. Thousands of planes and millions of passenger fly every day and an accident only happens every now again. It’s just a numbers game. And, most of the time accidents aren’t as devastating as we see in the movies.
Statistically, most people survive a plane crash.
Perhaps because of the catastrophic implications, both aviation specialists and the general public are intrigued by it.
So, I’ll describe why a plane crashes and what it’s like to be on one when it does. I’ll also cover quickly what happens after the accident.
Why Does a Plane Crash?
Human error is by far the biggest cause of accidents. This can be either on behalf of the pilot or air traffic controller. The most common reason is fatigue. Aviation employees have a stressful life and work long hours. Anyone that works in this industry should consider taking a fatigue risk management system course to help combat this common problem. A tired pilot makes critical mistakes and an exhausted air traffic controller can give dangerous clearances.
Sometimes a plane suffers from mechanical problems that cause the equipment to malfunction. This may be engine failure or an issue with the landing gear. The design or new technology may also cause complications. But in today’s day and age, both are becoming quite rare.
What’s it Like to Be in a Plane Crash?
First of all, if something is going wrong the passengers will be the last to know. The pilots try to resolve the problem and only announce it when something is imminent. Panic is the last thing we want. The pilot will tell you to brace for impact and assume the safety position. So make sure you read those safety booklets!
When the plane is landing, it’s going to be noisy and there may be two impacts. The first feels like you’re floating for a split second or two whilst the plane descends at a strange angle. Then the real impact hits and you feel the force.
In the non-catastrophic accidents, you then need to get out as fast as you can., which is easier said than done when everyone is panicking and screaming.
What Happens After a Plane Crash?
After the accident, regardless of the level of severity or loss of life, air traffic investigators need to conduct a thorough investigation. Immediately after the evacuation, a response team tries to recover the black box and the cockpit voice recorder.
Over the next few weeks or months, the evidence is collected to find out the reasons. Pilots aren’t usually held accountable.
People in the aviation community are taking an aviation accident investigation course to learn about this process. I always think pilots should have a deep understanding of what happens next. After all, if something happens, you want to help the investigation as much as possible.
I hope this article gives you an idea about the causes, the experience, and aftermath of a plane crash. But always remember that flying is the safest form of transport and the vast majority of incidents are fatality free.