Flying in an airplane is extremely safe. But how did flying become so reliable? Unfortunately, part of the reason why flying is so safe is because of accidents that triggered important safety improvements. Below are a few tragic airline accidents that inspired safety improvements that are still seen each time you step onto an airplane.
Portland – United Airlines Flight 173
Upgrade – Teamwork in the cockpit
United Flight 173 approached Portland, Oregon with 181 passengers and began to circle the airport for an hour as a landing gear issue was being worked out. The captain had been warned of the diminishing fuel supply by the flight engineer onboard but waited too long to begin the final approach. In the end, the DC-8 ran out of fuel and crashed, killing 10. Because of this crash, United Airlines improved cockpit training procedures, putting an emphasis on teamwork and communication among the crew.
Cincinnati – Air Canada Flight 797
Upgrade – Lavatory smoke detectors
On a DC-9 flying from Dallas to Toronto, thick black smoke began to waft out of the rear lavatory, filling the cabin. The plane made an emergency descent in Cincinnati, but shortly after the doors and emergency exits were opened, a flash fire erupted, killing 23 of the 46 people onboard the aircraft. The FAA then mandated that lavatories be equipped with smoke detectors. Additionally, all jetliners were retrofitted with flame-resistant cushions.
Sioux City – United Airlines Flight 232
Upgrade – Engine safety improvements
United Airlines flight 232 was flying from Denver to Chicago when the tail engine in the DC-10 suffered engine failure. The planes hydraulic lines were severed, making the plane uncontrollable. The captain struggled to land the plane and, as it made a crash landing, it killed all but 185 of the 296 people onboard. The accident caused the FAA to order a modification of the DC-10’s hydraulic system, requiring safety systems in future aircraft. This crash also changed the way airline engines are inspected.
Aircraft safety is always improving as technology advances. Here at Elevate Aviation, we’re proud to be on the forefront of these improvements, including only teaching the most updated and recent policies and procedures. For more information, please contact Elevate Aviation here in Salt Lake City, Utah.