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Is There An Aircraft That Has Never Crashed?

  1. Jun 6, 2009 #1
    As the title states, has there ever been an aircraft, that has never crashed?

    Just for clarification, I mean a TYPE/MODEL of aircraft (for example Boeing 757) not a specific aircraft. So please, no random aircraft registrations of currently operating aircraft!

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 6, 2009 #2
    never crashed in general, or never crashed because of some type of design/engineering problem/malfunction? your question is too general.
  4. Jun 6, 2009 #3
    Well, lets look at it from both view points of:

    1. Has there ever been an aircraft that has never crashed based on its design/engineering etc?
    2. Has there ever been an aircraft that has never crashed because of pilot error?

    I'll let you consider which category you wish to put weather into, I would say not to include it but as an aircraft must be designed with weather in mind I think it does play a part, but to be honest I was just curious as to whether or not there has been a type of aircraft never to experience a crash. So in other words all of the ones built are either still in service or retired.


    Also, as a quick addition, I don't mean things like running out of fuel, although this can be pilot error, it is generally the ground teams job to check quantities input are correct as well.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2009
  5. Jun 6, 2009 #4
    just curious, but what would be the significance of a plane that never crashed because of a pilot? that would be the pilot's skill, not the plane's design/engineering.
  6. Jun 6, 2009 #5


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    Well, the A380 hasn't, but it's new...

    For your #2, the Concorde only crashed once and it wasn't pilot error.
  7. Jun 6, 2009 #6
    Well the majority of air crash incidents are down to pilot error, but also the design can affect things such as control ability in a critical emergency, how an aircraft copes with extremem G-force when under high stress situations (stall recovery etc.) so let me re-phrase the qusetion.

    Has there ever been a type of aircraft never to experience a crash regardless of cause. So in other words all of the ones built are either still in service or retired?

  8. Jun 6, 2009 #7
    im reading in a few places where quantas has never crashed, but thats an airline company, not an actual plane/plane manufacturer. other than that, im finding nothing about a specific model that had never crashed, which doesnt especially surprise me..and weather would be in neither of those categories-it would be in one all its own.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2009
  9. Jun 6, 2009 #8
    I like it, never thought of it like that. It certainly answers my question and would be something to keep an eye on in the future. If one of those came down, how catastrophic do you think it would be considered? (obviously if fully laden with passengers). Depending on what brought it down, could be the worst air accident in history (a direct collision with another aircraft would certainly put it up there).

  10. Jun 6, 2009 #9
    Same here, found a few airlines that haven't had crashes, but nothing on specific aircraft. I understand exactly what you mean by weather, I only grouped it as an aircraft should be designed for adverse weather and a pilot should be trained to handle certain situations (cloud/fog which has caused a fair few crashes) by use of instruments.

  11. Jun 6, 2009 #10
    indeed, it is a massive airplane. and it would probably be considered highly catastrophic, even though people often fail to realize that airplanes are far safer than cars.
  12. Jun 6, 2009 #11
    True, but you could argue that a big factor in that is because people travel in cars possibly every day of their lives, whereas they may only spend a couple of hours on an aircraft each year. And also, a car crash is less likely to end in tragedy than an air crash, I mean seriously how often do you see a car hit a wall and disintegrate simply because it run out of fuel?

  13. Jun 6, 2009 #12
    Interesting point: I remember reading somewhere that the odds of an aircraft crashing into your home are somewhere in the region of 1 in 250000, making it statistically more likely to happen than you winning the lottery.

  14. Jun 6, 2009 #13

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    Defining a "crash" is not so simple. I was in what was called a "plane crash" - a luggage truck hit the plane when it was parked at the gate, slightly damaging it. This prompted an official investigation.

    The A380, as has been pointed out, has a perfect safety record. I believe there have been no fatalities on the 777 or the A340, but there has been one hull loss each. I believe that there was only one fatal accident on a 767, although there have been deliberate fatalities.
  15. Jun 6, 2009 #14


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    Not necesarilly. Current record is 583 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenerife_disaster), that is more than number of A380 passengers in standard configuration.

    Sure, in Tenerife it was two planes colliding, which pushed the number up.
  16. Jun 6, 2009 #15

    very true...
  17. Jun 6, 2009 #16


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    As far as I know, no Boeing E-4 has ever crashed. Of course, only 4 have ever been produced, so maybe that doesn't count (they're also used for Air Force One, so they're treated slightly better than the average plane I imagine).

    Anyway, this is almost what you're looking for


    Further research into all models with 0 fatal events is a good place to start

    Airbus 340 - has crashed (see link on website)

    Boeing 717 - no crashes? I found this near the top of google

    If bouncing on landing is the worst thing that's happened, I guess that should count as crash free

    I looked into this further
    http://www.aviationrecord.com/Home/NewsArticles/tabid/80/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/786/Default.aspx [Broken]

    So it looks like was the pilot damaging the plane by landing it poorly

    Boeing 777 - lost power on landing once
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  18. Jun 6, 2009 #17


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    I'm not really sure about the point of this thread, but since you asked some related questions, here are "accident" and death rates of specific airlines over the past 20 years. As you can see, there are quite a number with no fatal accidents: http://www.planecrashinfo.com/rates.htm

    Here are fatality rates per billion passenger miles:
    Train: .88
    Plane: .87
    Car: 11.7

    Now you can't directly compare these fatality rates because you take trips in planes that you wouldn't ever take in a car (you wouldn't drive from New York to London...), but still, a person would have to fly 13 times more miles than they drive to have an equivalent death risk. For example, my car will turn 5 this month and has 94,000 miles on it, so that's 19,000 miles per year. 13 times that is 123 round trips of 2,000 miles each (say, to Disney World from Philadelphia) per year.

    Caveat: I do drive more than average, but recently got a new job with a much shorter commute than I used to have...

    In any case, I don't know the reason for the questions being asked in this thread, but I don't see how they could possibly be useful. The main thing to realize about airline fatal accident statistics is that because airline crashes are so rare, you have to combine a whole lot of them to get useful statistics. Otherwise, you'd come to the nonsensical conclusion that you have no chance whatsoever of ever dying on a Southwest Airlines flight (for example).
  19. Jun 6, 2009 #18
    Well I was actually just looking to answer my overall question for a project I am doing:
    With all the modern technology used to design, simulate, test and fly aircraft these days, has the amount of crashes decreased? I was looking for this particular question to be answered purely as a basis to see if any older aircraft never crashed, particularly those without modern technology available for design.

    Unless you understand the use I am making of them, then yes, they are pointless.

  20. Jun 6, 2009 #19
    The question is not very clear or useful. There are probably several glider types that never have had a crash like the http://www.aviodrome.nl/themapark/expositie/collectie-overzicht/images/AlsemaSagitta-b100.jpg [Broken] of which only a handful were build. There may be several prototype to pre-series of types that never went in production and that never crashed. However there are probably no types of which considerable number are build, without a crash. So the really interesting number is the number of crashes per (100,000) flying hours. Note also that the cumulative lessons learned on aircraft construction has brought down the mishap rate enormously
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  21. Jun 6, 2009 #20


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    The answer to that question is an unequivocable yes.
    Well, your main question is a pretty specific one that should have good data to answer it directly, rather than looking for indirect data about it. Ie, if you want to know if crashes have decreased, you should look for overall yearly data about crashes and see if they have decreased.

    The NTSB has such data: http://www.ntsb.gov/AVIATION/Stats.htm [Broken]

    I tend to look at fatalities, but you said accidents, so here is a table of statistics of various classifications of accidents over the last 20 years, from the above link: http://www.ntsb.gov/AVIATION/Table2.htm [Broken]

    Now because the data still varies widely by year, you need to graph the data and construct trendlines to help interpret it. But I just dumped the data into Excel and found that using a second order polynomial (parabolic) trendline, "major" accident rates have dropped from about .5 to about .15 over the past 20 years. The "serious" catagory has also gone down, but the "injury" and "damage" ones went up then back down.

    Now it would be useful to get data from the previous 20 years (I'm looking....you may have to try to construct the data yourself) because in the early days of jet-powered civil aviation, there were entire classes of crashes that were subsequently all but eliminated by technology. Two examples:

    -Pilot error caused crashes on landing at night in clear weather due to lack of depth perception. This was solved by improving runway lighting to create depth perception and adding ILS to airplanes.
    -Crashes caused by wind shear were all but eliminated due to improved weather forecasting and detection.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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