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Are Small Plane Crashes More Common Than Other Types?

April 21, 2021 Posted In

Savvy travelers favor air travel because it’s faster and less accident-prone than other methods of transportation. Airplanes can reach most domestic destinations in hours, while international travel seldom takes more than one day. Likewise, traveling by air allows you to get to your destination faster, provides in-flight entertainment, and offers a sense of comfort. Small planes in particular can be a fantastic method of getting from point A to point B in a beautiful and exciting way. Likewise, small aircrafts can be cheaper and quicker than larger planes depending on your location and distance.

However, while flying is generally a safe way to travel, small plane crashes are still surprisingly common. Some analysts consider small private planes to be just as dangerous as cars, even though crashes involving small planes typically don’t receive as much media attention as major airliner crashes. Victims of a plane accident may experience permanent injury or death in the crash, leaving surviving family members behind.

If you or a loved one suffered injury or death in a small plane crash, you may be able to bring forward an airplane accident claim if the crash was the result of recklessness or neglect.

5 Reasons Why Small Plane Crashes Are More Common

When comparing commercial airlines and small planes, it’s clear which aircraft has more sophisticated safety and navigation technology. Commercial airlines are a class above the rest. They not only fly on planned and carefully controlled air traffic routes, but pilots undergo extensive training and have access to numerous backup systems and failsafe mechanisms that don’t exist in most smaller private planes.

Here are a few additional reasons why passengers of smaller planes face a unique set of risk factors:

A Lack of Restrictions

Amateur pilots have more freedom and face fewer constraints than commercial airline pilots, and they don’t demand as many flight hours to qualify for amateur flight licenses. Inexperience and incompetence are commonly cited reasons for small plane crashes.

Unsafe Runways

Smaller planes can land at a wide array of airports, even those with unpaved runways in some cases. This can sometimes lead to accidents when taking off or landing.


Losing control of the aircraft as a result of weather-related phenomena is a primary reason for small plane crashes. Smaller planes are more susceptible to weather and other natural hazards in flight.

A Lack of Fuel

Smaller planes, as you might expect, can’t store as much fuel as larger commercial aircrafts. As a result, without careful pre-flight planning, there’s a higher likelihood that smaller planes will run out of before reaching their destination. In fact, statistics gathered by the Washington Post state that two aviation accidents occur each week as a result of fuel running low.


Wildlife has been known to pose a threat to smaller planes. For instance, some small planes have crashed after birds flew into their windshields, wings, or engines, causing critical failures mid-flight.

Determining Fault after a Small Plane Crash

If you are injured in a plane crash—or if a family member was killed—you have the right to investigate the accident and, if there was recklessness or neglect, recover damages. If the crash occurred on someone else’s premises or was the result of the inattentiveness or irresponsibility of another at-fault individual, you may be able to recover compensation for any lost wages, property damage, medical bills, and psychological trauma associated with the accident.

Fault can sometimes be found by looking at what the FAA calls “accident themes,” with the most common issues being the following:

  • Flawed assumptions
  • Human error
  • Organizational lapses
  • Pre-existing failures
  • Unintended effects

At Danko Meredith, our California aviation accident attorneys will protect your interests throughout all stages of your case, regardless of whether you’re the survivor of an aviation accident or have lost a loved one. Whether we’re gathering evidence or fighting for you at trial, we’ll seek justice for you and your family, and we’ll always put your best interests first.

Contact an Experienced California Aviation Accident Attorney Today

Small plane crashes in California or elsewhere often result in serious injuries or fatalities. When these accidents occur, it’s critical that injury victims or the families of people who died in the accident pursue a case for recovery as soon as possible. Fortunately, help is right around the corner. At Danko Meredith, our experienced team is committed to keeping you informed every step of the way and helping you conquer this challenging time in your life.

We’ve been named one of the Best Law Firms in America by US News & World Report, and our award-winning lawyers are consistently listed among California’s elite. We care about you and will be by your side throughout the entirety of the legal process. No matter the complexity or size of the case, we’ll commit our full attention to all of our clients who deserve justice. For a free consultation, give us a call at (650) 453-3600 or complete our contact form today.