Many people are afraid to fly. While arguments are made that a person faces a much greater potential of being injured or killed in a car than an airplane, something about the vulnerability of flying at death-defying heights can be very intimidating. Regardless of how relatively safe planes are, investigating crashes when they do occur often is difficult.
In May of 2012, A Dallas pilot was returning from a flight Sunday evening when tragedy struck. Accompanying him on the flight back from Louisiana were his son and son’s girlfriend, among others. For reasons that are still under investigation the Cessna 210 crashed as the pilot tried to land on a grass runway. The son managed to wrest free from the wreckage and save all but his father, who died at the scene. Three survivors suffered burns and other injuries. Rescuers transported the injured to Dallas’s Parkland Hospital.
Small planes are involved in accidents at a rate much higher than commercial airlines. Similarly, crashes can be difficult to investigate. The National Transportation Safety Board reports that the rate per 100,000 hours of flight time shows that the risk of accident is as much as five times greater for small planes. Many factors can be attributed to this difference. For one, commercial pilots must have many thousands of hours of flight experience. Moreover, they are given rigorous training in safety.
Other factors which account for the greater incidence of small plane crashes are poor maintenance, defective or worn parts that are not replaced, errors committed by air traffic control personnel, and weather. Because there is generally a minimal amount of documentation for a small plane’s upkeep, it is often difficult to determine what caused the accident. When a plane crashes in a remote area, just locating it can prove challenging.