Things to Know Before Taking a Ride in a Private Plane
Even people who enjoy flying might wonder about the possibility of trouble happening on their flight. Taking a ride in a private plane might elicit a stronger feeling of unease since it’s generally a smaller plane than commercial aircraft and passengers will be more aware of the smallest turbulence. It’s true that flying has been proven to be statistically safer than ground forms of travel. However, with flying, an accident in a plane has far more potential for grave consequences.
Knowing this, when you are about enter an aircraft, you realize that you depend on the expertise and skill of the pilot and other staff to operate it properly. You also put great faith in the maintenance and upkeep of a machine built to FAA specifications. These are reasonable assumptions of the part of the passenger. In the case of a smaller, private craft, the risk of injury and death may be even more severe than in a commercial plane that may have size as an advantage in better shielding passengers in a crash.
Your Ride in a Private Plane is Covered by FAA Regulations
There are many factors that can contribute to an aviation accident, and all of them are generally preventable. For that reason, the Federal Aviation Administration has created extensive regulations to help ensure the safe take off, operation, landing and maintenance of commercial and private aircraft. Possible causes of aviation accidents include:
- Regulation violations – wrong runway, violating airspace, altitude, not enough fuel reserves. These violations are easily avoided by experienced pilots.
- Technical trouble, defective parts or equipment, lack of maintenance – Chances are this is not the maiden voyage of the plane you plan to board. Regular maintenance and pre-flight checks can eliminate the risk of attempting to fly a defective aircraft.
- Pilot error – Pilots must complete a specified number of hours of training with a certified instructor. This includes inflight piloting experience. Testing to receive a piloting license involves rigorous testing since the consequences of sending a novice pilot up without sufficient training can be disastrous. A good pilot will follow best practices and regulations regarding flying with good health, enough rest and according to safety protocols.
- Errors with an Air Traffic Controller – Your pilot must rely good information and instruction from those on the ground. Air traffic controllers are held to similar FAA safety standards of being rested and in sound health when they are on the job. Errors made by these controllers can create disaster in multiple ways.
Who Is Liable in an Aviation Accident?
In most circumstances, the pilot is the one entrusted to be responsible for the safety of the passengers, the aircraft and the environment it enters. There are other aviation entities who might be held liable for aviation accidents:
- Airport staff
- Staffing companies
- Leasing companies
- Owners of the aircraft
- Maintenance companies
- Charter operators
- Airplane manufacturers of more recent models
How You Can Protect Yourself
There are a few ways to be smart about protecting yourself when you ride in a private plane. Use common sense before and during a flight by following the rules of the flight company and or the pilot. Bring only the amount of luggage allowed, pay attention to the pre-flight instructions and try not to become overly anxious with a little turbulence. Stay calm throughout the flight. If something does go wrong, keep your head together and follow instructions of the flight crew.
If you are injured, you will likely be transported to a medical facility. Inform your family and your insurance company immediately. You should also contact an aviation attorney to sort out your options early on. Florida has very specific regulations regarding the statute of limitations for filing an aviation claim, including claims regarding the plane’s manufacturer. An expert attorney from Tison Law Group can make sure your concerns are addressed.