Flying in a jetliner is proved to be the safest method of travelling. The odds of been killed in a single airline flight (with major airlines) is 1 in 4.7 million . Flying with the best top airlines (with the best accident rate) gives you a smaller chance to die in a plane crash : 1 in 19.8 million. Here you can see the phase of the flight where you can see in what stage the percentage of having a plane accident is higher:
We have made a top 10 airplane crashes which meant and changed something in the history of aviation.
1. Grand Canyon mid-air collision TWA Flight 2 and United Airlines Flight 718
The crash between United Airlines Flight 718 (Douglas DC-7 Mainliner named Mainliner Vancouver) and TWA Flight 2 (Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation named Star of the Seine). The accident purred a $250 million upgrade of the air traffic control (ATC) system- which meant a lot of money in those days. The investment had benefical effects in aviation as it dramaticly decreased the mid-air collisions (Another well-known mid-air collision outside US is PAN AM – KLM in 1977 – watch video here : Deadly Crossroads)
The crash aftermath also lead to the creation of Federal Aviation Agency (now called FAA – Federal Aviation Administration Agency) to regulate the air safety in US.
Watch Mayday Grand Canyon – Air crash investigation Grand Canyon air disaster
Grand Canyon Mid-air collision Wikipedia
2. United Airlines Flight 173 – Portland
United Airlines Flight 173 , a DC-8 was a scheduled flight from JFK International Airport in New York City to Portland International Airport in Portland, Oregon, with a scheduled stop in Denver, Colorado. On December 28, 1978, the aircraft operating the route crashed in a suburban Portland neighborhood near NE 158th Avenue and E Burnside Street after running out of fuel. The plane was carrying 181 passengers.
Although gently warned of the rapidly diminishing fuel supply by the flight engineer on board, the captain–later described by one investigator as “an arrogant S.O.B.”–waited too long to begin his final approach.
In response to this crash, United Airlines made the cockpit training procedures thougher. They have introduced the new concept named Cockpit Resource Management (CRM). The difference between this new concept and the old procedures was the cockpit members ranking. “Captain is a God” phrase dissapeared and CRM emphasized teamwork and communication among the crew, and has since become the industry standard. Another proof of captain’s bad attitude is ressembled in Tenerife Disaster.
Click here for United 173 CVR
Wikipedia UA 173
3. Air Canada Flight 797
Accident Aftermath upgrade: smoke sensors
The trouble on Air Canad Flight Number 797 began when the plane was flying at cruise altitude. A thick smoke started to fill the cabin and the pilots started an emergency descent. The plane was en route from Dallas,Texas to Toronto,Canada. The cockpit was filled with smoke but the pilots managed to land the plane at Cincinnati. Even though the plane landed safely, the capin erupted in flash fire before all passengers could get out. Half of the passengers died (23 out of 46)
The FAA subsequently mandated that aircraft lavatories be equipped with smoke detectors and automatic fire extinguishers. Within five years, all jetliners were retrofitted with fire-blocking layers on seat cushions and floor lighting to lead passengers to exits in dense smoke. Planes built after 1988 have more flame-resistant interior materials.
4. Delta Airlines Flight 191
Wind shear refers to the variation of wind over either horizontal or vertical distances. Airplane pilots generally regard significant wind shear to be a horizontal change in airspeed of 30 knots (15 m/s) for light aircraft, and near 45 knots (22 m/s) for airliners at flight altitude. Vertical eed changes greater than 4.9 knots (2.5 m/s) also qualify as significant wind shear for aircraft. Low level wind shear can affect aircraft airspeed during take off and landing in disastrous ways and airliner pilots are trained to avoid all microburst wind shear (headwind loss in excess of 30 knots, Ibid.).
The fatalities of this crash were 143 out of 163 total passengers.
Aftermath: NASA/FAA conducted a 7 year research which produced the on-board wind shear radar.
Only one other accident involving wind shear happened after this upgrade to the airliners.
Mayday Delta 191
Delta 191 CVR
5. Aeromexico Flight 498
On 31 August 1986, Aeromexico Flight 498 a DC-9 and Piper Archer N4891F collided over Cerritos, California causing both planes to go out of control, killing 82 people. The accident was caused by neither pilot making visual contact and a lack of automated collision-warning systems. The crash inspires TCAS (A collision-avoidence system).Type of aircraft: Aeromexico Flight 498: McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32, N4891F: Piper PA-28-181 Archer.Cause of disaster: Mid-air collision, Pilot error (Piper), ATC error, outdated radar systems.
Watch the video of Aeromexico 498 (documentary) below:
Aeromexico 498 CVR
6. Aloha Airlines Flight 243
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) blamed a combination of corrosion and widespread fatigue damage, the result of repeated pressurization cycles during the plane’s 89,000-plus flights. In response, the FAA began the National Aging Aircraft Research Program in 1991, which tightened inspection and maintenance requirements for high-use and high-cycle aircraft. Post-Aloha, there has been only one American fatigue-related jet accident–the Sioux City DC-10.
7. US Air Flight 427
As a result, Boeing spent $500 million to retrofit all 2800 of the world’s most popular jetliner. And, in response to conflicts between the airline and the victims’ families, Congress passed the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act, which transferred survivor services to the NTSB.
8. ValueJet Flight 592
Plane crash cause : fire in the hold. To view more details, please view the below video. You will definately enjoy it as it is one of the best Air Crash Investigation episode.
Watch the video containing the history of Valuejet 592:
Valuejet 592 CVR
Air crash investigation valuejet 592
9. TWA Flight 800
The Boeing 747 plane blew up midair killing everyone on board (230 people). The first thought of NTSB was that TWA 800 crash was caused by a terrorist act. They ruled out the possibility of a planted bomb on board after examining the wreckage.
TWA 800 CVR
10. Swissair Flight 111
The cause of the accident was from the newly installed entertainment network.
The FAA ordered the Mylar insulation replaced with fire-resistant materials in about 700 McDonnell Douglas jets.
Another indirect cause of the accident was the strictness in following the checklist procedures. A checklist that took 45 minutes when they could have safely landed the plane if they did not have to follow such a cumbersome checklist.
Watch Air crash investigation episode about Swissair 111:
Air crash investigation Swissair
Swissair 111 CVR