Commercial air travel remains one of the safest ways for you to get where you need to go. In fact, for seven years, no fatal crashes have occurred in the United States. However, it wasn’t always as safe as it is today.
Any plane crash that involves serious injuries and the loss of lives is tragic, but fortunately, some of those crashes led to technological and procedural advances that make it safer for you to fly on a commercial airline now.
Air traffic control advances
When you think of who is responsible for a plane crash, does your mind almost immediately go to the pilot or a mechanic? That thought is only natural, but others also play crucial roles in making sure you arrive safely. Air traffic controllers make sure that airplanes do not collide while in the air or on the ground. Just as 18-wheelers have significant blind spots, so do airplanes.
Without adequate air traffic control, collisions would happen more often. In fact, the collision of United Airlines Flight 718 and TWA Flight 2 began a new era in controlling the traffic in our skies. Upgrades to the air traffic control system have resulted in no collisions taking place between two airliners in 47 years.
Those measures required upgrading, however, when a small private plane collided with a DC-9 in Los Angeles, California. That 1986 crash made the Federal Aviation Agency (created in 1958) require small planes to install transponders so that air traffic controllers could pinpoint their positions. In addition, the FAA required airliners to install collision avoidance systems on their fleets. The measures succeeded, and that incident was the last small plane vs. jetliner crash in the country.
Other technological improvements
Other significant changes in air travel have undoubtedly save lives and keep the public’s trust in commercial airline travel. Some of them include the following lessons from other air disasters:
- The institution of teamwork in the cockpit
- The option to override automation and manually fly when needed
- The installation of smoke detectors in lavatories
- The installation of fireproof insulation
- The implementation of downdraft detection systems
- The elimination of potential electrical sparks
- The improvements to engine safety
- The installation of fire prevention systems in the hold
- The increase in maintenance and inspection regulations
- The fixing of rudder system issues
All of these improvements came at the expense of people’s lives. However, their sacrifices make it safer to travel now.
Safety improvements don’t mean injuries and deaths never happen
While all of these improvements save lives, they cannot guarantee that no one will suffer serious injuries or death while traveling by air. Small plane and helicopter crashes occur more often than anyone would like to see, resulting in deaths and injuries. On-board injuries also occur.
If you suffered injuries on board an aircraft or lost a loved one in a crash, you may be able to pursue compensation for your financial losses and other damages. These cases can quickly become complex, however, and insurance companies could urge you to accept a settlement. You may find it to your benefit to discuss your situation with a Georgia attorney before considering any offers or taking any additional action.