In light of the recent crash of Germanwings flight 9525 on Tuesday, March 24th 2015, the world has been abuzz with talks of plane crashes and just how many of them are caused by pilots. While the co-pilot of flight 9525, Andreas Lubitz, has been accused of intentionally crashing the Airbus A320-200 into the French Alps due to severe depression and suicidal tendencies, there's been several other aviation disasters in recent history that can be attributed to 0ne small error made in the cockpit. Often, these mistakes are completely preventable and are made unintentionally during a brief oversight or lapse in judgement.
While each of the crashes has been devastating, many of them have become textbook examples for training pilots on what not to do in the air in order to prevent catastrophes of the same nature. As such, the world has seen an impressive increase in aviation safety in the past twenty years and is only continuing to improve in the domain. While 75% of plane crashes are caused by pilot error, rarely have the same mistakes been made more than twice. Below, we highlight instances of engine failure, autopilot disengage, faulty landing gear, speed sensor misreads, radio miscommunication, fuel exhaustion and lost altitude that have marked some of the most fatal aviation disasters in history and have served as great learning examples on what to avoid in the future.
10 Air France Flight AF447
9 TransAsia Flight 235
8 Eastern Airlines Flight 401
7 United Airlines Flight 173
6 KLM Flight 4805 and Pan Am Flight 1736
5 Polish Air Force TU154
4 Adam Air Flight 574
3 Helios Airways Flight 522
2 American Airlines Flight 587
1 Asiana Airlines Flight 214
On July 6th, 2013, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash landed at San Francisco International airport after its tail section hit a seawall and became detached from the rest of the fuselage, killing three people. Investigations concluded that the pilot had selected the wrong autopilot mode, decreasing the plane's speed which caused it to land short of the runway. This accident was a prime example of pilots' reliance on automated systems and showcased the captain in question's lack of monitoring awareness. By the time the crew realized how low they were flying at 100 feet, it was too late to conduct a go-around.
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