June 1999 Issue

Links in the Chain

Risk involved in some short flights prove accident chain doesn’t have to be long

The vast majority of aviation accidents have a chain of events that lead up to tragedy. It may be long or short, but seldom is it a single catastrophic event that strikes without warning.

Sometimes the events that chain the airplane to the accident are subtle. Only by playing Monday morning quarterback can you spot the links. In examining those accidents you may silently wonder if you would have spotted the potential for disaster in time to avert it.

Other times, the accident chain smacks you across the face. How, you wonder, could anyone have been so foolish?

One December night three acquaintances decided to go flying. They drove to a private airstrip west of Ocean City, Md., and...

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