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20 Worst Accidents Involving US Carriers

Livingsta is a writer who focuses on anything that fascinates, provokes or interests her. She always puts forth her best efforts and focus.

Aviation disasters are becoming more and more frequent in the recent times and have attracted the attention of pilots and non-pilots equally. This is due to the increased interest to learn from these accidents. This section provides you information about the 20 worst aviation accident in USA carriers and reasons of its happening. The objective of pointing out the causes is that future care will be taken to avoid human errors and will also help in shaping the amendment acts which will ensure more safety to the passengers and for the aircraft. 

20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers
20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers

09/11/2001 New York City, New York American / United Airlines

Date: September 11, 2001

Time: 08:47

Location: New York City, New York

Operator: American Airlines

Flight #: 11

Route: Boston - Los Angeles

AC Type: Boeing 767-223ER

Registration: N334AA

cn / ln: 22332/169

Aboard: 92 (passengers:81 crew:11)

Fatalities: 92 (passengers:81 crew:11)

Ground Fatalities: 2750

Crash Details: The aircraft was hijacked shortly after it left Logan International Airport in Boston. The hijackers took control of the aircraft and deliberately crashed it into the north tower of the World Trade Center between the 94th and 99th floors at approximately 450 mph. After 102 minutes, the building collapsed. It was one of four planes that were hijacked the same day.

20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers
20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers

03/27/1977 Tenerife, Canary Islands Pan Am / KLM

Date: March 27, 1977

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Time: 17:07

Location: Tenerife, Canary Islands

Operator: Pan American World Airways / KLM

Flight #: 1736/4805

Route: Tenerife - Las Palmas / Tenerife - Las Palmas

AC Type: Boeing B-747-121 / Boeing B-747-206B

Registration: N736PA/PH-BUF

cn / ln: 19643/11 / 20400/157

Aboard: 644 (passengers:614 crew:30)

Fatalities: 583 (passengers:560 crew:23)

Ground Fatalities: 0

Crash Details: Both aircraft were diverted to Tenerife because of a bombing at Las Palmas Airport. After an extended delay, both planes were instructed to back track up the runway. The KLM plane reached its takeoff point while the Pan Am plane was still on the runway. The Pan Am plane continued up the runway missing the taxiway turnout. There was heavy fog on the runway. The KLM plane began its takeoff roll without permission with the Pan Am plane still on the runway. The KLM plane hit the Pan Am plane just as it was taking off. Both planes burst into flames. KLM 234 + 14 crew, Pan Am 326 + 9 crew killed. All aboard the KLM plane were killed. The Pan Am aircraft was named Clipper Victor. The KLM aircraft was named Rhine River.

20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers
20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers

05/25/1979 Chicago, Illinois American Airlines

Date: May 25, 1979

Time: 15:04

Location: Chicago O'Hare, Illinois

Operator: American Airlines

Flight #: 191

Route: Chicago, IL- Los Angeles, CA

AC Type: McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10

Registration: N110AA

cn / ln: 46510/22

Aboard: 271 (passengers:258 crew:13)

Fatalities: 271 (passengers:258 crew:13)

Ground Fatalities: 2

Crash details: During takeoff just, as the plane lifted from the runway, the left engine and pylon separated from the aircraft damaging the wing and hydraulic system which caused the aircraft to roll and crash. Highest single plane death toll in U.S. aviation history. Asymmetrical stall and the ensuing roll of the aircraft because of the uncommanded retraction of the left wing outboard leading edge slats and the loss of stall warning and slat disagreement indication systems caused by separation of the engine and pylon. Improper maintenance procedures used by American Airlines when dismounting the engines for maintenance, by removing the pylon and engine together, putting strain on the engine mounts leading to stress cracks are the reasons for this disaster.

20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers
20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers

12/21/1988 Lockerbie, Scotland Pan American World Airways

Date: December 21, 1988

Time: 19:03

Location: Lockerbie, Scotland

Operator: Pan American World Airways

Flight #: 103

Route: London - New York City

AC Type: Boeing B-747-121A

Registration: N739PA

cn / ln: 19646/15

Aboard: 259 (passengers:243 crew:16)

Fatalities: 259 (passengers:243 crew:16)

Ground Fatalities: 11

Crash details: The airliner disappeared from radar shortly after leveling off at FL 310 while on a flight from Heathrow Airport, London, to New York. The aircraft broke up with two main sections of wreckage coming down in the town of Lockerbie. Detonation of an explosive device in the forward cargo area planted by terrorists created this disaster. Musician Paul Jeffreys was killed in this crash. The aircraft was named "Clipper Maid of the Seas."

20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers
20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers

11/12/2001 Belle Harbor, Queens, New York American Airlines

Date: November 12, 2001

Time: 09:16

Location: Belle Harbor, Queens, New York

Operator: American Airlines

Flight #: 587

Route: New York City - Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep.

AC Type: Airbus A-300-605R

Registration: N14053

cn / ln: 420

Aboard: 260 (passengers:251 crew:9)

Fatalities: 260 (passengers:251 crew:9)

Ground Fatalities: 5

Crash Details: Three minutes after taking off and while in a climbing left turn, at 2,800 ft., parts of the plane, including the vertical stabilizer and rudder, fell from the aircraft. The crew soon lost control of the plane which nose dived and crashed into a residential neighborhood. After flying into the wake turbulence of about two minutes into the flight, investigators believe a series of quick rudder swings by the copilot whipped the tail so severely that the fin broke off. The National Transportation Safety Board has found that pilot error was the probable cause. Sharply criticizing American Airlines Advanced Aircraft Maneuvering Program, the Board said that American Airlines' pilot training included a simulator exercise which could have caused the first officer to have an unrealistic and exaggerated view of the effects of wake turbulence, erroneously associate wake turbulence encounters with the need for aggressive roll upset recovery techniques and develop control strategies that would produce a much different -- and potentially surprising and confusing -- response if performed during flight. In addition, because of its high sensitivity, the Airbus A-300-600 rudder control system is susceptible to potentially hazardous rudder pedal inputs at higher airspeed.

20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers
The monument entitled "Silent Witness" a forever memory to Flight 1285, is located over looking the crash site of the charter Arrow Air DC-8 at Gander Lake, Newfoundland.

The monument entitled "Silent Witness" a forever memory to Flight 1285, is located over looking the crash site of the charter Arrow Air DC-8 at Gander Lake, Newfoundland.

12/12/1985 Gander, Newfoundland, Canada Arrow Airways

Date: December 12, 1985

Time: 06:45

Location: Gander, Newfoundland, Canada

Operator: Arrow Airways

Flight #: MF1285R

Route: Gander - Fort Campbell, KY

AC Type: McDonnell Douglas DC-8 Super 63PF

Registration: N950JW

cn / ln: 46058/433

Aboard: 256 (passengers:248 crew:8)

Fatalities: 256 (passengers:248 crew:8)

Ground: Fatalities 0

Crash Details: The aircraft stalled and crashed during takeoff. Two hundred and forty four members of the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Kentucky were killed in the accident. There is controversy surrounding this crash. The majority opinion of the board was that the cause of the sequence leading up to the stall and crash could not be determined, with icing a possibility. The minority opinion was that the crash was possibly caused by detonation of an explosive device of unknown origin in a cargo compartment which led to an in-flight fire and loss of control of the aircraft.

20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers
The wreckage of TWA Flight 800 sits in a hangar in Calverton, N.Y

The wreckage of TWA Flight 800 sits in a hangar in Calverton, N.Y

07/17/1996 Off East Moriches, New York Trans World Airlines

Date: July 17, 1996

Time: 20:31

Location: Off East Moriches, New York

Operator: Trans World Airlines

Flight #: 800

Route: New York City - Paris

AC Type: Boeing B-747-131

Registration: N93119

cn / ln: 20083/153

Aboard: 230 (passengers:212 crew:18)

Fatalities: 230 (passengers:212 crew:18)

Ground Fatalities: 0

Crash Details: While on a flight from New York to Paris, France, the aircraft exploded at FL 130, broke up and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Long Island, N.Y. The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the accident was an explosion of the center wing fuel tank resulting from ignition of the flammable fuel/air mixture in the tank. The source of ignition energy for the explosion could not be determined with certainty but, of the sources evaluated by the investigation, the most likely was a short circuit outside of the center wing tank that allowed excessive voltage to enter it through electrical wiring associated with the fuel quantity indication system. To say that numerous government agencies acted strangely and suspiciously would be an understatement. A great deal of evidence was either suppressed or ignored. Rumors persist that the plane was brought down by a missile, either by the Navy conducting exercises in the area or by terrorists.

20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers
20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers

09/11/2001 Arlington, Virginia American Airlines

Date: September 11, 2001

Time: 09:45

Location: Arlington, Virginia.

Operator: American Airlines

Flight #: 77

Route: Washington D.C. - Los Angeles

AC Type: Boeing B-757-223

Registration: N644AA

cn / ln: 24602/365

Aboard: 64 (passengers:58 crew:6)

Fatalities: 64 (passengers:58 crew:6)

Ground Fatalities: 125

Crash Details: The aircraft was hijacked after taking off from Dulles International Airport. The hijackers took control of the aircraft and deliberately crashed it into the Pentagon. It was one of four planes that were hijacked the same day.

20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers
20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers

12/20/1995 Buga, Columbia American Airlines

Date: December 20, 1995

Time: 21:38

Location: Near Buga, Valle del Cauca, Colombia

Operator: American Airlines

Flight #: 965

Route: Miami - Cali

AC Type: Boeing B-757-223

Registration: N651A

cn / ln: 24609

Aboard: 164 (passengers:156 crew:8)

Fatalities: 160 (passengers:152 crew:8)

Ground Fatalities: 0

Crash Details: While on a flight from Miami, FL to Cali, Columbia the aircraft crashed into Mt. El Deluvio 38 miles north of Cali while attempting to land. On approach, the crew was requested to report over Tulua VOR which they already passed. This confused them and they decided to go direct to Rozo beacon. Entering the abbreviation "R", incorrectly steered the plane towards Bogota. More than a minute into the turn the crew steered manually toward Cali, but this now took them into the path of a mountain. Crew error, Lack of situational awareness, failure to adequately plan and execute the approach, failure to realize that the FMS had turned the aircraft toward mountains and also Crew neglecting to retract the speed brakes after the Ground Proximity Warning System alert, Lack of adequate radar, Different Flight Management System naming convention from that published in navigational charts are all reasons clamed for this crash.

Memorial to the people who were killed from the crash of Flight 255 at a bridge on I-94 in Romulus, Michigan, at 8:48 pm on August 16, 1987. Apparently the plane's wing touched a building on the airport property, then flipped over on to the ground, k

Memorial to the people who were killed from the crash of Flight 255 at a bridge on I-94 in Romulus, Michigan, at 8:48 pm on August 16, 1987. Apparently the plane's wing touched a building on the airport property, then flipped over on to the ground, k

20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers

08/16/1987 Romulus, Michigan Northwest Airlines

Date: August 16, 1987

Time: 20:46

Location: Romulus, Michigan

Operator: Northwest Airlines

Flight #: 255

Route: Detroit, MI - Phoenix, AZ

AC Type: McDonnell Douglas MD-82

Registration: N312RC

cn / ln: 48090/1040

Aboard: 155 (passengers:149 crew:6)

Fatalities: 154 (passengers:148 crew:6)

Ground Fatalities: 2

Crash Details: The aircraft stalled and crashed during takeoff from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. After liftoff, the wings of the airplane rolled to the left and right and then the aircraft collided with obstacles northeast of the runway when the left wing struck light poles and the roof of a rental car agency. A 4-year-old girl, Cecilia Cichan, was the only survivor. Slats and flaps did not extend. Crew's failed to use taxi checklist to ensure flaps and slats were extended. Lack of electrical power to the aircraft takeoff warning system. Cecelia is now married and has earned a Psychology degree from the University of Alabama. Although she has made no public statements or attended annual memorial services regarding the tragic crash, she corresponds with some of the crash victims’ loved ones.

20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers

07/09/1982 Kenner, Louisiana Pan American World Airways

Date: July 09, 1982

Time: 16:09

Location: Kenner, Louisiana

Operator: Pan American World Airways

Flight #: 759

Route: New Orleans - Las Vegas

AC Type: Boeing B-727-235

Registration: N4737

cn / ln: 19457/518

Aboard: 145 (passengers:138 crew:7)

Fatalities: 145 (passengers:138 crew:7)

Ground Fatalities: 8

Crash Details: The aircraft crashed during a thunderstorm, 29 seconds after taking off from New Orleans International Airport. The plane reached an altitude of 95 to 150 feet and then began to descend and crashed into trees and houses bursting into flames. Microbust induced windshear. There was Limited capability of current ground-based low-level windshear detection technology. The aircraft was named "Clipper Defiance."

20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers
20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers
20-worst-accidents-involving-us-carriers
The aircraft crashed after colliding with a Cessna 172 while on a downwind for runway 27 at San Diego. The PSA jet's flight crew was cited at fault for failing to maintain visual separation with the Cessna after reporting it in sight.

The aircraft crashed after colliding with a Cessna 172 while on a downwind for runway 27 at San Diego. The PSA jet's flight crew was cited at fault for failing to maintain visual separation with the Cessna after reporting it in sight.

09/25/1978 San Diego, California Pacific Southwest/Private

Date: September 25, 1978

Time: 09:02

Location: San Diego, California

Operator: Pacific Southwest Airlines / Private

Flight #: 182

Route: Los Angeles - San Diego

AC Type: Boeing B-727-214 / Cessna 172

Registration: N533PS/N7711G

Aboard: 137 (passengers:128 crew:9)

Fatalities: 137 (passengers:128 crew:9)