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How safe are smaller planes?

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2023 | Aviation Litigation

Flying in a large commercial jet is a stressful and often uncomfortable experience. You will likely be far too close to the person in the next seat, and amenities that used to be an essential part of flying, like a checked bag and a meal, now require that passengers pay for them much of the time.

People have increasingly begun to look into flying on small planes and charter flights as an alternative to standard commercial travel. In some ways, small planes may seem safer. There are fewer people on board and therefore fewer risks for certain threats, like violence or terrorism. When there are fewer people on the plane, you are also less likely to catch some kind of illness that could otherwise surface in a closed space with many other people.

Although small planes may at first seem like they are safer, many experts will tell you they are often not as safe as you think.

What do aviation statistics say?

General aviation, which is the term for all flights involving planes that are not part of military or commercial fleets, is responsible for the vast majority of crashes that occur each year. When crashes make the news, it is almost always because of a commercial flight or an unusual location, like an urban center, that sees a small crash.

In most cases, small plane crashes only make the local news, not the national news. Although people are unaware of these crashes occurring, many of which involve failures on the runway, they are a daily issue across the United States. In 2021, there were 939 general aviation accidents that resulted in 268 deaths.

Why do small planes pose such a risk?

There are numerous reasons why small planes are responsible for such a large percentage of the crashes and aviation fatalities that occur every year. Independent operators and companies with small fleets may not invest as much in maintenance. Individual plane owners may not have the appropriate experience despite retaining licenses.

Like with any other highly-involved skill, flying a plane requires regular practice for someone to retain their abilities. Unfortunately, some people with private licenses only fly a few times a year and may become increasingly unsafe despite technically having the credentials to fly.

When clients or friends of owners of small planes suffer injuries because of a crash, they may have grounds to bring a personal injury claim against the pilot or other potentially liable parties. Taking action by pursuing a personal injury claim can help you reduce the harm caused by an aviation crash involving a small plane.