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Aviation Accidents and Incidents

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Aviation Accidents and Incidents

Deadliest Plane Crash in Aviation History

The disaster at the Los Rodeos Airport was a deadly runway collision between two Boeing 747s on March 27, 1977. The airport is now called Tenerife North Airport on the island of Tenerife, of the Canary Islands group. The deadly accident took the life of 583 people, which makes it the most fatal accident in the history of aviation. As the result of the intricate interaction of structural influences, environmental conditions and dangerous acts resulting in this aircraft tragedy, the accident at Tenerife has served as a classic example of examining the process used in the aviation accident studies and accident prevention.

When a bomb exploded at Gran Canaria Airport, and another bomb threatened the airport, it led many aircraft to get diverted to Los Rodeos Airport. Among the aircraft involved were PanAm Flight 1736 and KLM Flight 4805. Air traffic controllers at Los Rodeos Airport were enforced to park many of the aircraft on the taxiway, as a result blocking it. While the authorities were trying to reopen the Gran Canaria, a dense fog that developed over Tenerife reduced the visibility thus worsening the situation.

After Gran Canaria had been reopened, the aircraft parked in the taxiway at Tenerife needed both the Boeing 747s to taxi on the only available runway so they can get into position for takeoff. The fog that developed the airport was so thick that both aircraft can’t see each other and even the controller in the tower can’t see the two 747s and the runway they are in. Since the airport doesn’t have ground radar, the controller could only locate both aircraft through voice reports on the radio. Due to a lot of miscommunication, the KLM flight tried to takeoff while the aircraft of the PanAm flight was still on the runway. The collision destroyed both aircraft, which killed 248 people on the KLM flight and 335 people on the PanAm flight. 61 people inside the Pan Am flight, which included flight engineer and pilots, survived the collision.

Since the tragedy happened in Spanish territory, Spain was in charge of investigating the incident. Investigators from the United States and Netherlands also took part. It was found out during the investigation that the main cause of the incident was that the captain of the KLM flight took off without ATC (Air Traffic Control) clearance.According to the investigation, the captain didn’t deliberately take off with clearance from the ATC; rather he believed that he had clearance for takeoff because of the misunderstanding among his flight crew and the ATC. The investigators from Netherlands placed great emphasis on this reason as compared to their American and Spanish counterparts; however, KLM admitted that their crew was liable for the incident, and the airline company financially recompensed the relatives of the victims.

The incident had a permanent effect on the aviation industry, especially in the field of communication. A great emphasis was employed with the use of standardized phraseology in the ATC communication by both pilots and controllers, thus decreasing the possibility of misunderstandings. As part of the changes, the phrase “takeoff” was taken out from general usage, and is only used by ATC when an aircraft is cleared for takeoff or when calling off the same clearance. Flight crew members with less experience were encouraged to contest their captains if they think something is wrong, and captains were told to heed their crew and assess all decision in light of the concerns of the crew. This concept was then developed into what’s known as the Crew Resource Management. All airline pilots are mandated to undergo CRM training.

Here at Charter Flight Group, our main goals are to provide a comfortable and private flight to all travellers and bring you to your destination safe and sound. With these objectives in mind, we, from the foundation of our business until the present, ensure that our pilots and cabin crews are competent, licensed and well-trained because we don’t want to risk your well-being.