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What are the biggest dangers in aviation?

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I think the single largest danger is people. Whether it's pilots losing control like in the AF447 crash, or people (airline, ATC) thinking it was safe to fly over a war zone in the case of MH17, or the pilot not understanding the flight control systems such as the Asiana 214 crash. Icing, thunderstorms, volcanic ash, birds etc. do need to be taken seriously, but are relatively well understood and can be avoided or prevented. We still haven't found a way to avoid human error or poor decision making though.



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Pilots (?!) not properly trained. No training in unusual attitude recovery, emergency management, CRM, and so on.

Also, lousy, abreviated maintenance practices. Maintenance that get's short-cut through because management is riding them to get the plane back in service as fast as can be, even if it mean skipping procedures, or steps. Safety/QA checkers threatened with being fired if they don't cooperate and just sign the thing off, whether it's been properly checked and verified or not.

In my mind, this is the biggest problem. The pressure the maintainers are under to hurry hurry hurry! A pilot needs the right tools to do his job safely and correctly, and if he's given a marginal, or even bad aircraft, no matter how good he is, it's going to kill people.

Finally, in my opinion, information and automation overload, or systems pilots aren't properly trained on. Again, poorly trained pilots, rushed through their "schooling?, whether they get the knowledge down or not.

Good luck, and be safe!



Had a thought...then there was the smell of something burning, and sparks, and then a big fire, and then the lights went out! I guess I better not do that again!

Sgt, USMC, 10 years proud service, Inactive reserve now :D

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Not being aware of your own limitations.


For example, when you are sleepy/tired, you may not be aware of everything. That's ok, and perfectly normal. We are all human.

But, however much you are missing at that time, at least be aware that you are sleepy/tired!!!!

(And, be man/woman enough to admit it, and to pass off the shift to someone else.)


In aviation it often appears that speed is all that matters. Make it your personal mission to put safety first.

(Not only in aviation btw.)

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For more on fatigue and its effects, read the Sky Kings column in the July '16 Flying magazine (by Martha King) about their "recent" encounter with fatigue.


Larry N.

As Skylab would say:

Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

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I was just pondering. I know that flying is the safest form of travel ever, but I know that there are dangers as well. I think the two biggest dangers are icing and birds. What's say you?


The others who posted seemed to be talking about commercial aviation. For general aviation, the biggest cause of death is controlled flight into terrain - or at least it was last I heard. I'll bet it happens more at night. I don't know what the next most likely causes are but N33029 almost had a mid-air collision when I was seven. We heard later that the other pilot managed to complete a mid-air collision, no survivors.


I could only guess at other causes, but I'm willing to guess at some others: weather, running out of fuel, too low and slow, no spin recovery training at all, not having an off-field landing site to use, having one in mind but it's not as good as it looked when the engine quit, paying off the mechanic to sign off on your annual inspection, being lazy about making clearing turns (who hasn't done that?)


I remember writing Senator Corpra-Whore about something they have in Alaska that warns you if a plane is within 300' of your altitude and closer than a certain lateral distance away. As it turns out, it is called ADB-S and it will be required to have it to fly in Class C airspace before long. It will be nice when all aircraft need to have it, although "flight following" is wonderful. Still I read about a mid-air in South Carolina. The pilot usually called for flight following, but not on that, his final flight. My senator is on the Aviation sub-committee but it seems that having exactly one photo taken of her sitting in a GA aircraft meets her responsibilities to that community. So, her, another cause of aviation danger.


Uh, here we have a mountain range called the Crashcades. Icing can ruin your whole day.


It probably doesn't happen much, but just getting so lost you can't figure it out can kill you if you don't climb, confess, communicate, and comply. Get the Sporty's walkie talkie, really. It even has a glideslope in case a clear airfield is further than your 45-minute reserve. $350 is worth it to save your life. Good for getting the weather while you are writing on your kneeboard but before you start the engine up. The most common place for an engine to quit is about 500-700' up after you take off, just enough to consider turning back to the runway if you are a super-skilled airman. I think that has something to do with the inside of the engine expanding faster than the outside, but it's a guess, really.


I'm sure there are lots of other reasons. That Air France flight that lost power and the pilot pulled the yoke into his lap caused the commercial heavy he was flying to mush down right into the South Atlantic. I'm not knocking him - I did the same thing myself on more than one occasion, although always close to the runway. Now that I think about it, IIRC on one of this morning's flights (landing on a runway that is 375' wide - NOLF Imperial, California, USA) my cub started sinking and I did the opposite this time, trying to pick up airspeed to get control back. Hard landing. I'd be interested in what rate of sink results in one or more blown disks, and what breaks your spine, and what just ruins your gauges.


My 2¢ worth.


Happy landings,


'Glichy' controls or switches and don't want to pay for new ones? Read on... You can bring a controller back to life by exercising it through it's full range of motion or from maximum to minimum and back again 50 times. I had a Logitech joystick that gave left rudder without touching it but turning it 50X fixed it.
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