AVIATION FACTS: Most airplane crashes happen during take-off and landing

One fact becomes clear after analyzing historical accidents data and focusing on the phase of flight during which these accidents occurred: landing and take-off are the most complex phases of flight for any aircraft. Almost half of all accidents that occurred between the period of 1983 to 2019 occurred during landing or take-off procedures.

The difficult combination of constantly changing aircraft configuration, having to command the aircraft, communicating with Air Traffic Control and keeping an eye on changing weather conditions increases the potential for unforeseen events that sometimes lead to an accident.

Although only 6% of the total flight path is operated in the landing or take-off phase, the majority of fatal accidents occur in these phases.

The diagram below shows the flight phases in percentage terms with their respective accident probabilities.

Source: Statistical Summary of Commercial Jet Airplane Accidents, 1959 – 2008, Boeing.

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