Fear of Flying Site
Do Not Enter If You Are About to Fly
The following page is a sample listing from Airplane Disasters, by John Kremer. This file features almost two thousand airplane crashes, near misses, and related accidents organized by date.
Don't read this if you are about to fly! I guarantee that no matter how much you have flown in the past, when you read the entire Airplane Disasters listing, you will think twice before flying again.
For those of you who would rather read about the positive side of air travel, check out the Fun of Flying Site, which features hundreds of historic airplane anniversaries, heroics, and so on.
1978: 213 people died when an Air India Boeing 747 exploded and crashed into the sea near Bombay India.
1997: A Piper Cherokee clipped a tree and flipped over into a house while trying to land at the Florence, South Carolina airport. Two people on board were able to climb out with few injuries; the other two were seriously injured and hospitalized in critical condition.
1920: Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov was born on this date. Although he wrote about flying in space and other technological marvels, Asimov himself refused to travel by airplane. Did he know something we don't?
1997: Reno, Nevada, experienced its worst flooding in 40 years, forcing the closing of its casinos, wedding chapels, government offices, the Mustang brothel, and the Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
1997: The pilot and four passengers of a Cessna 210 died when their plane got caught in a snowstorm and crashed into Cuddy Mountain near Council, Idaho. The four passengers were vacationers who had been stranded in McCall, Idaho, because of flooding.
1997: A twin-engine Piper Aerostar crashed into the Great Dismal Swamp shortly after taking off from the Chesapeake, Virginia airport. All four people aboard the plane were killed.
1994: When its engine caught fire, a Tupolev-154 Russian plane crashed near Mamony, Siberia. All 124 people aboard were killed. In addition, a farmer on the ground was killed.
1996: A USAir jet bound for Greensboro, North Carolina, had to make an unscheduled landing in Imperial, Pennsylvania, after the pilot noticed that one of the landing wheels was missing. No one was injured in the landing.
1989: U.S. jet fighters shot down two Libyan planes over the Mediterranean Sea.
1996: Because of a mix-up in flight numbers (two aircraft with the same flight numbers), a Delta jet crossed a runway as it got ready to take off from JFK Airport in New York. The Delta jet crossed in front of an American airliner that was just landing. The two jets came within 1,500 feet of each other. No injuries resulted.
1997: Fifty years after he was shot down over Nazi Germany, the body of American airman Roger True Lane was returned home to be buried (after his bones were discovered by two young Germans looking for metal in a field). He was shot down on December 24, 1944.
1989: Two French TV journalists were arrested while trying to plant fake bombs on three different airlines at JFK Airport during a security test.
1995: A British Airways Boeing 737 had a close encounter with a brightly lit wedge-shaped craft as it was approaching the airport at Manchester, England. The mysterious craft came within yards of the 737 then veered toward the right side of the plane and disappeared. Air traffic control at the airport reported seeing only one plane in the air at the time -- the Boeing 737.
1996: Six people were indicted on federal charges of trafficking in used and unsafe parts for commercial aircraft. Some of those parts may have made their way into aircraft that was still flying.
1997: The pilot and two passengers were injured when a sightseeing tour plane lost power and crash landed near a Bullhead City, Arizona highway.
1996: Because of a power outage from 6:55 a.m. to 7:20 a.m., the Air Route Traffic Control Center in Auburn, Washington, lost contact with planes in its air space, causing delays in takeoffs and landings throughout the Pacific Northwest.
1911: The first bombing experiments from an airplane were carried out near San Francisco, California.
1972: 104 people die when an Iberian Airlines jet crashed into a mountain on the island of Ibiza.
1989: A British Midland Boeing 737 crashed on the Motorway outside London, England.
1996: A ValuJet DC-9 bounced on landing at the Nashville, Tennessee airport but landed safely on its second attempt. None of the 88 passengers were injured in the incident. The accident occurred because the crew restored circuit breakers before landing that caused the plane's ground spoilers to be deployed which, in turn, caused the plane to suddenly lose altitude.
1997: Robert Martin, an American pilot who sprayed herbicides on Amazon jungle coca fields in Colombia, died in the crash of his T-65 Turbo Thrush airplane.
1997: A Minnesota Air National Guard F-16 jet fighter disappeared from radar and was missing while training with three other jets. The other jets couldn't find the one jet because it was too dark that night.
1997: An American Airlines A-300 Airbus jetliner ran into turbulence as it was flying from Puerto Rico to Philadelphia. As a result, they were forced to make an emergency landing at Kennedy Airport near New York. Four flight attendants and two passengers were hurt in the turbulence. Several flight attendants hit the ceiling as the plane was thrown up and down by the turbulence.
1997: A Bosnian pulled a knife and hijacked an Austrian Airlines MD-87 jet and forced the plane to land in Berlin. The hijacker was successfully subdued after the plane landed. No passenger or crew were injured in the attempt.
This database might seem a little morbid to you. I started collecting data in mid-1995 as a whim when I began to notice airplane crashes and near misses being reported almost daily. I had never noticed these airplane crashes when reading newspapers, but reading the news online really brought this to my attention. And it scared me. I wonder how many airline passengers truly realize the risk they take in flying when they head out on their Cancun vacations or Dominican Republic vacations.
Sure, more people die of car crashes every year, but you have some control over your fate in most car crashes. Drive safely, and you'll normally be okay. But what can you do in a plane crash? Duck your head and hope for the best. Most of the time, you won't even know it's coming until it's way too late to duck. I still fly, making ten to twenty flights a year, but I breathe a sigh of relief when the plane lands successfully.
I am no longer maintaining the listings. I hope those I have gathered will help to caution you about flying. For the complete listing, click on Airplane Disasters. Note that this is a long unadorned text file (425 Kb) and may take awhile to load and save.
Did you know that carry-on bags injure thousands of people each year? Passengers are hit by falling bags. Flight attendants are often hurt while helping passengers stow their luggage. More than 4,000 people are injured each year!
In a study of air travel statistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Arnold Barnett placed the odds of dying in an airline crash at one in 8 million. As he explained it, “If you were to randomly select a flight each day, you would be eating airline food - peanuts and pop - for 21,000 years before a fatal crash.”
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