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Aviation Accidents and Controlled Flight into Terrain

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If you are like many people, you take flights on commercial aircraft with some regularity. If you are also like many individuals, you may have at least some level of concern about the possibility that some sort of mid-air mishap might occur, resulting in serious injuries or even fatalities. Indeed, you may have had the truly unfortunate experience of losing a loved one in an aviation accident or sustained injuries yourself in such an incident. The Doan Law Firm aviation accident attorney hotline at (800) 349-0000 is staffed around the clock, every day of the year – including major holidays.

The typical commercial aircraft passenger is apt to conclude that nearly all catastrophic aviation accidents are the result of either human error or some type of mechanical breakdown. In fact, about 50 percent of commercial airline accidents are determined to arise from pilot error. About 15 percent result of major aviation accidents stem from purely mechanical failures of one type or another.

What you may not realize is that a full one-in-five catastrophic aviation accidents involving commercial aircraft is a result of what the International Civil Aviation Organization classifies as controlled flight into terrain.

What is Controlled Flight into Terrain?

In essential terms, controlled flight into terrain is an aviation accident that occurs when an aircraft is piloted into some type of terrain. This includes aircraft that is piloted into water, a mountainside, the ground, or even a building or other structure. Your immediate response to this description may be to hearken to 9/11 and the terrorists who piloted commercial aircraft into the World Trade Center and Pentagon and attempted to do the same with the U.S. Capitol. While that technically qualifies as an example of controlled flight into terrain, and instances have occurred where a pilot brings down a plane because of suicidal ideation, the reality is that the vast majority of aviation accidents caused by controlled flight into terrain do not involve pilots with nefarious intent.

Although not a commercial aviation accident, the crash of the private plane piloted by John F. Kennedy, Jr. is a prime example of a controlled flight in terrain accident. When the investigation of the accident concluded, the determination was made that became “spatially disoriented” and piloted the plane into the ocean. In other words, JFK, Jr. became disoriented as to the true position of the aircraft in the sky which resulted in the catastrophic accident, killing everyone on board the aircraft.

In this case, investigators concluded that there was no mechanical failure. Prevailing weather conditions, which included fog, contributed to the pilot disorientation that resulted in the controlled flight into terrain.

The Most Catastrophic Case of Controlled Flight into Terrain

Although the private plane crash involving JFK, Jr. is utilized to help explain controlled flight into terrain, the incident involving the most significant loss of life involved a pair of 747s that were not even yet airborne. They were both on the runway of an airport, moving at high rates of speed. The aircraft collided into each other, resulting the deaths of 583 people.

Investigators ultimately concluded that a variety of factors played into this controlled flight into terrain aviation accident: pilot error, instrument limitations, weather (fog), and poor communication from control tower personnel.

Determining the Cause of a Controlled Flight into Terrain Aviation Disaster

Ascertaining the underlying cause or causes of a controlled flight into terrain aviation accident can prove to be challenging. Such a catastrophe can be the result of pilot disorientation or error, mechanical malfunction or breakdown, or both. In addition, prevailing weather conditions oftentimes is a contributing factor.

The Doan Law Firm aviation accident lawyer team is well-versed in making sure the underlying cause of any type of airplane crash is identified. By properly identifying the underlying cause or causes of a controlled flight into terrain accident, all responsible parties can be brought to justice.

These parties can include:

  • Pilot
  • Other crew members
  • Airline
  • Aircraft manufacturer
  • Aircraft parts manufacturer
  • Air traffic control personnel

The Doan Law Firm Aviation Accident Lawyer Team Fights for You

If you’ve been injured in any type of airplane accident, or if you’ve lost a family member in this type of tragic event, the aviation accident lawyers from our firm stand ready to fight for you. You can schedule an appointment with a Doan Law Firm aviation accident lawyer right now by calling (800) 349-0000.

The Doan Law Firm has an attorney fee guarantee. We never charge a fee unless we win for you.

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