Robb & Robb LLC’s aviation attorneys for private, charter, and corporate plane crashes have obtained record setting results on behalf of crash victims and their families. Private plane crash cases are complex and challenging. Private aircraft do not have the “black boxes” which commercial planes do. In addition, regulation and enforcement of maintenance and certification procedures are not nearly as rigorous for private aircraft as for commercial aircraft.
General aviation refers to all flights other than military and scheduled airline and cargo flights. The majority of air traffic in the United States falls into this category. Most of the airports in the United States, around 5,300, serve general aviation exclusively. According to the NTSB, in 2009 over twenty million flight hours were flown by general aviation aircraft such as private planes, business jets and chartered aircraft. In that same year, 1,474 accidents were reported involving general aviation aircraft. NTSB statistics from 2013 reveal that in contrast to the safety record of commercial airplanes, small private planes average five accidents per day, accounting for nearly 500 American deaths in small planes each year.
Our private plane crash lawyers have successfully represented the families of executives, charter passengers, and crews involved in crashes of private aircraft including Cessna and DeHavilland planes.
There are a variety of causes. The conduct of the pilot is, rightly or wrongly, always a focus. This is particularly true with private planes, whose pilots are sometimes part-time.
However, chartered private planes can run into trouble even if they’re flown by the most experienced professional pilots. Bad weather is a frequent cause of crashes; small aircraft are often more strongly affected by bad weather than commercial planes.
Other causes of chartered plane crashes include running out of fuel, air traffic control errors, or striking wildlife or stationary objects. But some of the more common causes we see involve defects in equipment, such as:
Our chartered plane crash lawyers handle cases of fatal and catastrophic crashes caused by equipment defects, pilot error, air traffic control errors, fuel mismanagement, and more.
Chartered private planes may be hired for skydiving, sightseeing, executive and business travel, emergency response, and more. These planes range in size from small two- or four-seat propeller aircraft to larger jets that seat dozens of people.
One myth about private air travel is that it’s only for the ultra-rich. Actually, many business travelers use corporate jets when they need flexibility or the ability to stop in multiple places along a custom route.
In addition, chartered air travel is sometimes the only way to reach rural, remote areas.
A large majority of chartered jets fly shorter routes where the alternative is either a lengthy, non-direct commercial flight or a long train or bus ride. In those circumstances, chartered jets may sometimes be a cost-effective option—and it saves considerable time.
According to the NTSB, there were 387 deaths in general aviation accidents in 2013 alone—the lowest number in several decades. However, only two people died in commercial airplane crashes the same year.
It’s clear that although safety is improving—since the 1970s, there has been a 75% reduction in fatalities from general aviation accidents—chartered plane travel is still not as safe as commercial flight.
Two major manufacturers produce most of the large commercial civilian aircraft flown today: Boeing in the United States, and Airbus in Europe. In the United States civil aviation incidents are investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Families involved in air crashes are often astonished to learn that they or their representatives can have no role whatsoever in the crash investigation. Compounding this disadvantage of initial inaccessibility is that parties potentially responsible for the crash (who are usually the defendants) are invited by the NTSB to be party participants in the agency’s investigation.
The most common causes of private plane crashes include the following: