10 Aircraft Accidents that Changed Aviation Forever

by Binupriya Tomy2 years ago

6 Air Canada Flight 797

A McDonnell Douglas DC-9, on June 2nd, 1983, caught fire behind the lavatory, which spread to the outer skin, burned electrical cables and instruments, making the plane land in Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport. In a mere 90 seconds after the landing, the inside of the flight also caught fire killing 23 people. The accident brought out huge global aviation regulation changes. 

Air Canada Flight 797
Air Canada Flight 797. Image credit: Rob Rindt Collection/Flickr.com

This aircraft developed an in-flight fire that spread, filling the plane with smoke. The fire destroyed the aircraft completely. Two Americans and 21 Canadians died. Many bodies were destroyed beyond recognition. Smoke inhalation and flash fire were the reasons for the death of people who could not be evacuated. The blood samples of victims showed signs of cyanide, fluoride, and carbon monoxide.

Air Canada Flight 797
This aircraft developed an in-flight fire that spread, filling the plane with smoke. Image credit: airlive.net

The NTSB was initially unable to find that the damage to the insulation of wires was the main reason for the fire. The plane’s log had around 76 reports in the previous year. The plane was honored for the actions taken to land safely. As a conclusion to the investigation, they recommended adding smoke detectors to lavatories along with automatic fire extinguishers and other in-cabin fire safety enhancements. Seat materials were upgraded to fire-blocking types and highlighted markings of exit rows were added. Aircraft were also required to add emergency track lighting that can be seen through any type of smoke. (1, 2)


7 British Airways Sikorsky S-61 Crash

One of the most fatal civil aviation air accidents of Britain is the Sikorsky S-61 crash that happened on 16 July 1983. The accident was caused by the pilot failing to notice his descent while flying low. The plane’s flight instruments were also not in adequate condition. The crash made AIB review helicopter safety, and eight crucial recommendations were made. 

British Airways Sikorsky
British Airways Helicopters Sikorsky S-61N MkII G-ATFM at Aberdeen Airport. Image credit: Gary Watt/airliners.net via Wikimedia.org

Only six out of the 26 people survived this deadly crash. It was the worst civil aviation accident of the time. The helicopter hit the sea three times successively before crashing completely. The cabin was badly damaged. The sponsons that helped the helicopter to float after in water broke off because of the hit which broke the floor and let water in making it sink.

British Airways Sikorsky
Sikorsky S-61 helicopter Oscar November (G-BEON) being recovered from the sea by the MV Seaforth Clansman after crashing on 16 July 1983. Image credit: Air Accidents Investigation Branch via Wikimedia.org

There was an immediate public inquiry into the safety records of Sikorsky helicopters. Some reports came out regarding improper safety measures. There were reports of no safety leaflet on seats, passengers being allowed to walk around the helicopters even when the seatbelt sign was on, and not highlighting the location of the emergency exit.

The visibility on the day in question was poor, which caused a pilot error. The incident led to having an audible height warning in all helicopters and altimeter positions to be moved near the pilot’s head-up field vision. (1, 2)


8 United Airlines Flight 173

This flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Portland International on December 28, 1978, ran out of fuel after incurring a landing- gear problem killing ten on board. The incident was the beginning of heavy changes in how crew members were trained. 

United Airlines Flight 173
Taken at Seattle / Tacoma – Int. (SEA) May 1972. Image credit: Clint Groves/airlinefan.com via Wikimedia.org

As the flight approached the Portland airport, the landing gear light did not light up, and there was an abnormal vibration. The crew then tried to diagnose the problem while they flew over to southeast Portland to prepare for an emergency landing. But the crew failed to effectively monitor the levels of fuel that increased the fuel burn rate and lost number one and number two engines. Two crew members were killed along with eight passenger deaths and 21 serious injuries.

United Airlines Flight 173
Image credit: tailstrike.com

The accident pointed out the lack of effective cockpit management during a crisis situation. New behavioral management training was devised to deal with poor coordination and teamwork between crew members. The program is now mandated throughout the world. This type of training would reduce human error in critical conditions. (1, 2)


9 Staines Air Disaster

British European Airways Flight 548 crashed near Staines soon after takeoff killing 118 people. The aircraft suffered a deep stall and crashed, just missing the main road three minutes into the flight. The incident led to the mandatory installation of cockpit voice recorders or “black boxes” for registered airlines. 

Staines Air Disaster
British European Airways Hawker Siddeley Trident 1C G-ARPE, c/n 2105 delivered to BEA on July 10, 1964. Image credit: Piergiuliano Chesi via Wikimedia.org

Two passengers survived the impact but passed away due to injuries. The captain was initially blamed for not configuring the high-lift devices correctly and failing to maintain airspeed. Apparently, no technical problem was found. The crash occurred during a pilot strike and this caused uneasiness between the airline and the crew.

Staines Air Disaster
The intact tail of BEA flight 548 was left sitting in a field after the crash. Image credit: The Daily Mirror via admiralcloudberg.medium.com

The inquiry found that the airspeed was not maintained and the crew failed to maintain proper airspeed. The captain was also suffering from a heart condition, and the crew was not trained to face the situation when a captain is incapacitated. An urgent call was made for installing “black boxes” in every British airline. The accident lead to emphasis more on crew resource management, which is a set of flight-deck safety awareness procedures that remains in place still today. (1, 2)


10 The “Knute Rockne” Crash, 1931

The crash that killed Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne led to changes in the aviation industry in a drastic way. Due to the excessive media coverage, the results of the investigation were released to the public for the first time ever. The airplane wing made of laminated wood failed during flight, killing all eight people on board. 

The “Knute Rockne” Crash, 1931
Knute Rockne, football coach (Image to the left), The crash happened southeast of Bazaar, Chase County, Kansas. Image credits: Shutterstock, Kansas Historical Society via kansaspublicradio.org

The flight was scheduled to fly from Kansas City to Los Angeles. During the first leg, the wooden structure on one wing failed. It caused the crash killing eight people including the famous coach, Knute Rockne. The investigation pointed out the wooden wing became moist over time, and the glue connecting it weakened causing the wing to become separated.

More rigorous maintenance and inspection were done on aircraft after this incident. The aviation investigation was made public after this incident as there was a lot of media involved in the case. Maintenance of navigational aids was made crucial. Wood-framed aircraft were abandoned after this crash, and the entire passenger airline industry adapted to all-metal aircraft. (1, 2)

Also Read:
10 Cases of Mysterious Disappearances in National Parks

Page 2 of 2
Find us on YouTube Bizarre Case of Gloria Ramirez, AKA “The Toxic Lady”
Picture 10 Aircraft Accidents that Changed Aviation Forever
You May Also Like
10 of the Weirdest Birds You Never Knew Existed Picture
10 Unbelievable Facts About Space Picture
This Is What Everyday Foods Look Like Before they Are Harvested Picture
The Mysterious Disappearance Of The Sri Lankan Handball Team Picture
How Were Dinosaur Fossils Not Discovered Until The 1800s? Picture
Why Does Time Go Faster As We Grow Older? Picture
Why Aren’t Planes Getting Faster? Picture
10 Events That Can Wipe Out Humanity Picture