Chain of events (aeronautics)

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This article is about chain of events in aviation. For other uses, see Chain of events.

In aviation, a chain of events, often called the error chain, is a term referring to the concept that many contributing factors typically lead to an accident, rather than one single event.[1] These contributing actions typically stem from human factor-related mistakes and pilot error, rather than mechanical failure.[1][2] A study conducted by Boeing found that 55% of airline accidents between 1959 and 2005 were caused by such human related factors, while only 17% of accidents were caused by mechanical issues with the aircraft.[3]

The Tenerife Disaster, the worst accident in aviation history, is a prime example of an accident in which a chain of events and errors can be identified leading up to the crash.[4] Pilot error, communications problems, fog, and airfield congestion (due to a bomb threat and explosion at another airport) all contributed to this catastrophe.[4]

See also[edit]

Swiss cheese model


  1. ^ a b Willits, Pat. Guided Flight Discovery: Private Pilot. Mike Abbott and Liz Kailey. Englewood: Jeppesen. pp. 10–26. ISBN 0-88487-429-X. OCLC 145504766. Retrieved August 2007. 
  2. ^ Willits, Pat. Guided Flight Discovery: Instrument/Commercial. Mike Abbott, Liz Kailey, and Jim Mowery. Englewood: Jeppesen. pp. 1–31. ISBN 0-88487-274-2. OCLC 145504766. Retrieved August 2007. 
  3. ^ Boeing (May 2006). "Statistical Summary of Commercial Jet Airplane Accidents Worldwide Operations" (PDF). Aviation Safety Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Retrieved August 2007. 
  4. ^ a b "The Deadliest Plane Crash (transcript)". NOVA. PBS. October 2006. Retrieved August 2007.