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Notable Aircraft Mishaps & Analysis

Notable Aircraft Mishaps & Analysis

 
The First Aircraft Mishap

Although the aviation industry has demonstrated an unparalleled safety record over the past few decades, occasionally mishaps still occur.  In the event of such a tragedy, a mishap investigation is conducted to determine responsibility and prevent future accidents.  In the modern era of aviation, aircraft mishaps are almost exclusively caused by human factors.  This differs considerably from the earlier periods in aviation when actual structural or mechanical failure of aircraft would commonly be the cause of tragedy (see ‘The First Aircraft Mishap‘ below).

Flight Surgeons, Aviation Medical Examiners (AME’s) and aerospace physiologists are considered human factors experts. In the military, flight surgeons often assist or lead the mishap recovery and response. Being involved in a mishap response or investigation is one of the most challenging, but rewarding duties for any flight medicine professional.

Lastly, we are highly sensitive to the fact that these tragic mishaps have, and still do, have significant impact on loved ones of the victims.  Focusing on the causal analysis and lessons to improve flight safety in NO WAY should eclipse the memories of loved ones lost in aviation accidents.

Explore additional mishaps with accompanying analysis below!

‘Fitness for Flight’ – Mental Health & Antidepressants
30Mar

‘Fitness for Flight’ – Mental Health & Antidepressants

The recent Germanwings tragedy has called commercial aviation’s concept of ‘Fitness for Flight’ into question.  In case the reader has just returned from a week long hike in the wilderness…

Investigating Pilot Error in Plane Crashes:  A Human Factors Analysis
22Nov

Investigating Pilot Error in Plane Crashes: A Human Factors Analysis

Although horrific plane crashes continue to make the headlines and the media seems to agitate the public by suggesting otherwise, traveling by air remains the safest form of transportation.  Period.…

The Risk of Flight – Training Accidents
12Nov

The Risk of Flight – Training Accidents

Guest post by fighter pilot and editor of Tally One Rob Burgon When was the last time you remember hearing about a U.S. fighter aircraft being lost in air-to-air combat?  How about…

KLM-Panam Tenerife Disaster
11Oct

KLM-Panam Tenerife Disaster

The Boeing 747 was first introduced in 1970 by Panam Airlines. The 747 was the first aircraft to earn the moniker ‘Jumbo Jet’, which has now become synonymous with all large passenger…

Tarnak Farm – Reckless Pilots, Speed, or Fog of War?
19Jul

Tarnak Farm – Reckless Pilots, Speed, or Fog of War?

On 17 April 2002, as the Afghanistan conflict was escalating, a friendly-fire incident swept the headlines. An American F-16 being flown by an Air National Guard pilot mistook Canadians training in…

United Airlines 173 – The Need for CRM
08Jul

United Airlines 173 – The Need for CRM

In late December 1978, a United Airlines commercial aircraft DC-8 carrying 181 passengers and 8 crew crashed outside Portland, Oregon.  8 passengers and 2 crew members died.  Although the crew did…

JFK Jr Piper Saratoga Mishap
15Apr

JFK Jr Piper Saratoga Mishap

On 16 July 1999, the son of former President John F. Kennedy took off in his privately-owned Piper Saratoga from New Jersey bound for Martha’s Vineyard. Although he held a…

First Fatal Mishap in Powered Flight – Orville Wright & Lt Selfridge
10Mar

First Fatal Mishap in Powered Flight – Orville Wright & Lt Selfridge

Almost 5 years after the historic birth of controlled flight at Kitty Hawk, an updated version of the Wright Flyer was involved in the first fatal aircraft mishap in powered…

Recent Comments

  1. Total BS. When you lose horizon you might go into a slow descent, if you are not trusting your instruments,…

  2. Hi Jay, I've just led myself to this article after coming across your PPP slides from the AF Specialty Teleconference,…

  3. How do flight surgeons reconcile Geneva Convention status issues? As medical officers, they are non-combatants; as pilots, they definitely ARE.…

  4. Major Jedick, Very intersting piece. I often wondered this myself- I briefed a flight surgeon once (WX) and we chatted…