Lewis Katz, an attorney, business man, philanthropist, and principal owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team and the New Jersey Devils ice hockey team, was among the 7 killed this weekend when his private plane burst aflame on takeoff.
Katz was flying in a Gulfstream jet, a plane whose brand is reputable for being reliable and luxurious, and owned by the financial elite, such as Fortune 500 executives, CEOs, rock stars, celebrities, and high profile government officials. The particular jet costs around $65million, and has a four year waiting list for those wishing to purchase one.
However, regardless of how high class they are, statistically, private planes are not as safe as standard airliners. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there are 1.27 accidents per 100,000 hours of operation for private planes, while only a mere .155 crashes per 100,000 hours for commercial airlines.
The NTSB has not released an official report about the cause of the plane crash, however the investigation is underway. BBC.com claims that 50% of all plane crashes are caused by human error rather than mechanical, however, the plane in question here crashed during takeoff, which means that the plane probably suffered a mechanical error.
During takeoff, the plane is under a very high amount of stress. Its engines are being pushed to their limits, the body of the plane is under stress as the top is being lifted while the bottom is on the ground, the wings are just beginning to bear the weight of the entire plane, and the wheels are rotating very fast. Any one of the situations aforementioned can fail, resulting in catastrophe, from an engine conking out to something as simple as the plane’s tire bursting.
Although it often feels scary to be on a plane, it is far safer than driving a car. And even those who experience plane crashes have a high chance of survival relative to what we would expect-76.6%.
If you happen to be on a plane and it starts to go down, or your plane crashes on the runway, act fast. The book The Survivor’s Guide: The Secrets And Science That Could Save Your Life explains that during the standard crash, you have approximately 90 seconds before the airplane starts burning uncontrollably hot and makes escape impossible. Make sure to have a plan of how to quickly escape- know what exits to go to, and go fast. Oftentimes, in extremely stressful situations like these, people will act very unnaturally, often leaving their babies on the plane or sitting still while the plane burns around them. Having a plan will help you quickly act and get out as fast as possible
For more information on aviation accidents and claims, contact the Charlotte aviation accident attorneys at Auger & Auger.