The official terminology of the organisms in charge of safety in the aeronautical field distinguishes the incidental , events having involved property damages, and the accidents , events having involved a death among the crew or the passengers of a plane.
The accidents which interest the airliners are included in the category of the air Catastrophe S because of their suddenness and of the number of victims.
The plane crashes can be classified according to several criteria:
- destruction of the cell in flight: collision between two planes, major structural defect, fire, terrorist Attack, interception by the air Defense of the country flown over, etc
- destruction of the cell by impact on the ground (in English crash landing ): error of navigation and percussion of an obstacle, incidental mechanical low register obliging the pilot to try a landing of fortune, etc
- accidents on the ground: collision enters a plane in phase of takeoff or landing with another plane having penetrated on the track, etc
Contrary to the generally allowed opinion, the statistics show that in these last types of accidents, there are good lucks of survival.
Lastly, the destruction of the plane can take place after the death of the crew and the passengers. In the event of generalized breakdown of the circuit of pressurization one could see planes continuing to fly in automatic mode during several hours and to strike the ground after exhaustion of the fuel.
The security services enter also the quasi-collisions (in English: near miss ). They are the cases where two planes passed each other at distances lower than the security distances and where one of the pilots at least had to carry out a violent operation.
The airline companies insist on the statistical which present the plane like the surest means of transport. However, this argumentation is based on a comparison based on the number of accidents per traversed kilometer. The planes traversing of very long distances, frequently several thousands of kilometers and at very high speeds, the accidents seem very marginal then, compared to for example of the walking or the Automobile, of which the use is made on shorter distances.
But when the comparison is based on the number of accidents per journey time or the number of accidents per use of a means of transport (whatever the distance covered), the plane does not hold any more the first place, quite to the contrary.
On average, one differently deplores less than one accident fatal per million flights or known as a fatal accident for 2 million hours of flight (intermediate duration of a flight being 2 hours). This value has been stable for several years. In front of the continuous increase of the air traffic, one can provide that in absolute value the number of accidents must also increase. It is generally estimated that in 2010, there will be an tragic event per week on a world level.
However, as the table shows it below, the number of died in absolute value knew a strong reduction these last years, which had principalemement with the improvement of the instructions and security systems.
The catastrophes and plane crashes are closely related to the development of the Aéronautique.
First accident of Plane: the September 17th 1908, in Fort Myer (in Virginia). The Wright Flyer III is crushed and killed two people (whereas the flight of the first plane of Clément Ader had taken place only the October 9th 1890 and that the Frères Wright had made fly their first plane only the December 17th 1903).
The balloons then the planes progressively carrying more and more passengers, the accidents fatal became catastrophes.
Origin of the accidents
The industry of the Air transport is subjected to many international and national regulations. Probably because of the mediatization of the air crashes and the economic risks related to the confidence of the public, the pressure is strong so that each accident is explained, that the responsibilities are established and that corrective measures are taken.
The classification of the accidents according to the causes and their effects makes it possible to meet this need. It should however be noted that an accident is seldom caused by a single event but which it results from a series of incidents. Thus when the air forces of the Soviet Union destroy in flight a Boeing 747 of the Korean Airlines which penetrates in their airspace, the origin of the catastrophe is easily identifiable: destruction of the cell by a missile; in the second time the analysis shows that the presence of the Avion in a closed area was probably due to an error of navigation which could have, itself, several origins: human error or defect structural of the instrument. In addition the procedures of communication between the plane and local air control did not function correctly, etc
The collision with the birds can also cause air crashes.
See also List of air crashes
Collision of two apparatuses on the ground
Sunday March 27th 1977, two Boeing 747 pertaining to the American company PanAm and the company KLM Dutchwoman is struck on the airport of Tenerife making 583 victims. This catastrophe is related to ambiguities of the English, language of the international civil aviation since 1951 (the details are provided in the article Catastrophe of Tenerife). This catastrophe is up to now (2007) that which because the greatest number of victims.
The terrorist air crash most serious: four planes of American Airlines and United Airlines, diverted within the framework of a Suicide bombing, were crushed against the turns of the World Trade Center to New York, against the Pentagone with Washington and in Pennsylvania the September 11th, 2001. This catastrophe officially made 2.752 died (on the aircraft, the skyscrapers and on the ground). It implicates the security systems and of excavation of the passengers.
Major structural defect
The August 12th 1985, a Boeing 747 of the company Japan Airlines loses its drift in flight and is crushed making 520 victims (and 4 survivors). Flight JL123 connected the airport of Tokyo Haneda to Nagoya. The probable cause of the accident is a defective repair following a preceding landing having deteriorated the back of the plane. It blames the respect of the procedures of maintenance. See the dedicated article: Flight 123 Japan Airlines
Set fire to
The September 2nd 1998 a tri-jet MD11 of the Swiss company Swissair is crushed at sea following a fire probably caused by the system of entertainment of the passengers. The catastrophe blames the systems of fight against the fire on board but also the risks related to systems nonessential to the vol.
See also: Flight 007 Korean Airlines
September 1st 1983, a Boeing 747 of the Korean company Korean Airlines, newcomer of Anchorage (Alaska) and going to Seoul is destroyed in flight by the air Défense of the Soviet Union. The plane deviated significantly from its road and flew over significant areas of the Kamtchatka and peninsula of Sakhaline (and prohibited with the overflight) in Soviet Union.
A major crisis between the the United States and the Soviet Union was followed from there, the Americans advancing that the probable cause was an error of navigation involving the overflight of a closed area, the Soviets that in addition to voluntarily flying over areas closed, the plane was accompanied by different (S) plane (S) (undoubtedly of the electronic RC 135 of recognition) and that it was not the first attempt at this kind by this company (flight 902 of Korean Air was forced with the landing in the USSR in 1978 in close circumstances). In fact, the Soviets were, at the beginning of the Années 1980, under a constant pressure of the Americans in this very significant area (China, 2 Korea S, the Japan and Soviet Union), with overflights and provocations.
Because of the political implications, this catastrophe is the subject of many theories and is not completely elucidated. These last years, certain documents became public. Many points are factuellement disconcerting. It seems rather clear that the Americans gained the media battle having followed this dramatic accident.
a version of the facts, very detailed
Absence of pressurization
The August 14th 2005, a Boeing 737 of the Cypriot company Helios Airways, with 115 passengers on board is crushed on the ground. The probable cause is the absence of pressurization having involved the asphyxiation (Hypoxie) of the crew and the passengers. The plane continued to fly during several hours in automatic mode until exhaustion of the fuel reserves.
Collision with the ground
The January 20th 1992, a Airbus A320 of the French company Air Inter strikes the Mont Sainte-Odile whereas it carries out its approach on the Aéroport of Strasbourg. The probable cause is the posting of an excessive rate of descent. Moreover, the plane was not equipped with GPWS (Ground Proximity Warning System) informing the crew of the proximity of the ground (this equipment is obligatory today on all the aircraft). The catastrophe blames the training of the crews. See Crash landing of the Mont Sainte-Odile
Collision in full flight
July 1st 2002, two planes, a You-154 of Bashkirian Airlines and a Boeing 757 of DHL run up in full flight close to Ueberlingen (Germany). Assessment 71 dead including 52 children. Detailed article: Flight 2937 Bashkirian Airlines
What does it occur in the event of air crash?
Initially, the helps go on the spot to try to find survivors. Generally, they were alerted by the air Contrôle which was pilot event, but not always. The helps in general set up a Emergency plan specific (Plan Sater in France) fascinating of account the particular difficulties and the great number of victims (in general all deceased).
As soon as possible, one or more organizations of investigation go on the spot for:
- to seek the block boxes;
- to analyze the data elements available and to inquire into the causes of the catastrophe.
Quasi-systématiquement, the investigators belong to three main categories:
- the local office of investigation (for the France, the Office of investigations and analyzes - BEA of the ministry for transport);
- the office of investigation of one or more countries concerned (for example, the BEA when the flight came from France or returned to France and was crushed in a third country). In this case, the local office remains Master of the investigation;
- division “management of the accidents” either of the airline company or of the air manufacturer concerned or of one or more insurance companies. These organizations are systematically interested to have the maximum of information taken in the source and bring technical skills put at the service of the local office of investigation.
The airline company and the civil authorities of the place of the catastrophe organize the reception and the information of the parents of victims (or of the supposed victims). That is generally done today with the assistance of psychologists ground with the situations of extreme shock which the advertisement of the brutal disappearance of a relative or a friend represents.
Moreover, when the plane or the broken wreck is not completely destroyed, the companies carry out a camouflage of fortune using painting or cover on the parts of the plane to the reasons for the company. This concern aims at limiting the media effect of the catastrophe.
The results of the investigation (which can take several months or several years) are then exploited in several directions:
- compensation for the victims by the insurances and seeks responsibilities;
- possible correction of defects inherent in the planes in question;
- possible correction of defects of the procedures used;
See tooList of the prohibited airline companies
- the Office of Investigations and Analyzes French
- air Crash landing - the French-speaking site of the accidents and air incidents
- 1001 Crash landing - Plane crashes - Vidéos, analyzes, accounts, black lists
- the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle
- Database on the air crashes
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