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When are you most at risk on an airplane?

Robert F. Spohrer

Aviation incidents frequently cause catastrophic losses. When an issue with an airplane makes the news, there has almost always been something catastrophic that occurred, often during the middle of the flight.

Typically, people hear stories about planes that go down far from assistance or that are lost at sea because these are dramatic stories that grab someone’s attention while scrolling through the headlines. However, although you often hear about incidents occurring in the middle of a flight, that is not when your risk for something going wrong on a plane is actually at its highest.

The takeoff and landing approach are when the most issues actually occur

If you look at statistics about when things go wrong with airplanes, mid-flight failures are actually not as serious of a concern as you might think. Once the pilots achieve cruising altitude, the potential for things going wrong decreases.

Before that, the risk is much higher. Takeoff and the initial climb are dangerous times, as even minor mistakes by a pilot could lead to a drastic loss of altitude. About 14% of fatalities happen during this time, and another 49% occur during landing. Issues ranging from landing gear failures to mistakes in speed reduction could cause a plane to come in too fast and result in damage to the vehicle or injury to the passengers.

A catastrophic crash is not the only kind of aviation accident that might leave you with property damage or injuries. Realizing this could help you seek justice for lost wages and other costs when you suffer injuries because of an incident during take-off or landing.