Are helicopters safer than small planes

Flight expert explains why so many small planes crash | Small fliers, great danger?

Berlin - It seems like not a week goes by without a small plane or helicopter crash. Do the little aviators pose such a great danger?

• At the weekend a powered airplane crashed in Marienberg (Saxony) after a collision. The inmates, father (54) and daughter (26), died.

• On Sunday, near Furtwangen (Baden-Württemberg), a pilot (26) fell into a forest with his light helicopter - dead.

• The Austrian stunt pilot Hannes Arch (46) crashed his helicopter into a mountain in the dark on Thursday - dead, one passenger survived.

► Most recently, “there has been an accumulation of aircraft accidents,” says Jens Friedemann, spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU) to BILD. “This is due, for example, to the fact that more pilots are flown when the weather is flyable.” Flight festivals or sporting events also ensure that more pilots are in the air.

“On the other hand, we had a period with comparatively very few serious accidents until the height of summer. Statistically, there is nothing to be concerned about. But of course every serious accident is one too many, ”says Friedemann.

So many accidents really happen

The BFU's task is to investigate the causes of accidents and to find ways to improve in order to minimize the number of aircraft accidents. In fact, the number of accidents has been falling for years. Friedemann: "That will probably not change this year either."

► In 2015 there were a total of 150 aircraft accidents in Germany, 22 of which were fatal.

► There were 49 accidents involving glider pilots, five of which were fatal; three accidents involving helicopters, one fatal, and 59 accidents involving small aircraft, eleven fatal.

Why do fatal crashes keep happening?

“A technical problem alone is often not the cause of the accident; it is usually an operating error. Environmental factors also play a role, ”explains Friedemann.

Even if there is not one main cause, the BFU has to state: “A certain percentage of accidents are definitely caused by human error. Everyone who drives a car knows that sometimes you don't concentrate. In most cases it works fine, but sometimes there are more serious accidents - it's similar with flying. "

Not enough fuel with you, a cylinder head breaks - there are many causes of problems during the flight. But what do you do if there is really a threatening situation in the air?

Friedemann: "If a system or the engine fails, there is always the possibility of an emergency landing: The aircraft is then down-steered in glider flight."

If he can, the pilot has to decide very quickly: “If you are at a very low altitude or above the water, there are no alternatives. If, on the other hand, you are at a height of around 300 meters, you still have around a minute to make an emergency landing. "

Are large planes safer than small ones?

“Two to four engines, two pilots, strict construction regulations: With the numerous requirements that commercial aircraft have to meet and the large number of people and high material assets they transport, it is logical that the large aircraft are safer than the small aircraft. These have only one pilot, one engine and one control system and are mostly designed for sport and private enjoyment, ”says BFU spokesman Friedemann.

Statistically, there are more fatal accidents with small aircraft, but when a commercial aircraft crashes, there can be significantly more deaths.

How should one behave as a witness?

You should alert rescue workers and provide help without putting yourself at risk. If you have taken pictures or videos of the crash, you can forward them to both the police and the BFU.

Friedemann explains: "The police are looking for the culprit, we are investigating the cause so that flight accidents are less likely."


Father and daughter die on a birthday flight

He had given her the sightseeing flight for her birthday: Horst B. (54) and Sophia (26) from Saxony had a fatal accident.

The experienced pilot took off from Großrückerswalde airfield, where a party was just being celebrated. But in the air he collided with a glider pilot!

While it was still able to land safely, Horst B.'s motorized airplane fell straight into the forest.

Helicopter pilot crashes over forest

A pilot (26) also died on Sunday near Furtwangen (Baden-Württemberg).

He had started a sightseeing flight in his helicopter in Freiburg. An eyewitness reported the crash in a forest near Gütenbach-Hintertal in the afternoon.

Stunt pilot Hannes Arch has an accident in the Alps

Professional pilot Hannes Arch (48) had an accident with his helicopter on Thursday during a flight from the Großglockner area in the direction of Salzburg.

The friend of “Germanys Next Top Model” candidate and stunt woman Miriam Höller had set off for the approved night vision flight. But only two minutes after take-off, the helicopter crashed into a rock face at an altitude of around 2,400 meters.

An inmate who spontaneously decided to fly survived with serious injuries.

Tragic end of an airfield party

Airfield festival in Wienau (Rhineland-Palatinate) in early September: Manfred M. (80) threw candies with his gray-red “Renegade” double-decker; The candy sailed to the ground on parachutes.

But the children's fun turned into a nightmare: Suddenly the plane slowed down and tipped over 40 meters above the ground. The machine crashed, went up in flames. The pilot (60 years of flight experience) died.

This festival also ended fatally

The western town "Pullmann City" in the Harz is known for its spectacular air show. 100 pilots showed their skills in August - until a machine crashed.

Just a few moments after take-off, an ultralight aircraft crashed to the ground and caught fire on impact. The pilot could no longer be saved and burned to death on the plane.

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