Human factors in crashes of commuter airplanes

S. P. Baker, M. W. Lamb, G. Li, R. S. Dodd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pilots and frequent travelers on commuter aircraft are exposed to higher risks of death or injury than those on major air carriers. To provide a better understanding of the circumstances of crashes of scheduled commuter airplanes, National Transportation Safety Board data were analyzed for all cases of death, serious injury, or major damage involving commuter airplanes during 1983-88, when 172 people were killed and 207 injured in 118 events. Three-fourths of cases involved inadequate pilot performance, notably poor handling of emergencies and improper instrument flying procedures. Pilot errors occurred disproportionately in bad weather, which played a role in 30% of crashes. Aircraft malfunctions were involved in 42% of crashes. Certain airplanes were overinvolved in gear-up landings or in crashes due to fuel mismanagement. Greater priority should be given to applying known preventive measures to the problem of commuter crashes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-68
Number of pages6
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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