Landing The Most Dangerous Phase of Flight

January 03, 2018
landing dangerous phase flight
Landing is the most dangerous phase of flight

The most dangerous part of any flight is the landing with nearly half of all fatal accidents occurring in the last fraction of a journey, according to US manufacturer Boeing.

The annual Boeing Statistical Summary of Commercial Jet Airplane Accidents Worldwide Operations 1959 – 2016 finds that for the period 2007 through 2016, 24 percent of all fatal accidents occur on the final approach to land while another 24 percent are in the landing.

See spectacular video here of landings and take-offs 

The final approach and landing phases account for just 5 percent of the average flight according to the Boeing data.

Graphic of fatalities of phases of flight showing landing
Graphic of phases of flight with fatalities showing landing as the most dangerous

Just 11 percent of accidents occurred in the cruise portion of the flight, which accounts for 57 percent of the exposure based on the percentage of flight time estimated for a 1.5-hour-flight.

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The Boeing report does not include any jets built in Russia or former Soviet bloc countries nor turbo-prop or piston-powered aircraft of any make.

Graphic of flight hours and departures
Graphic of numbers of flights and flight hours. Boeing

In 2016, there were 64.4 million flight hours and 29 million departures conducted by western manufactured jets.

Since 1959, the worldwide fleet of jets has flown 1,389 million flight hours (978 million on Boeing aircraft which includes McDonnell Douglas) and had 744 million departures (520 million on Boeing / McDonnell Douglas aircraft)

As of Dec 31, 2016, the worldwide fleet of Western-built jets numbers 25,722 of which 13,756 are Boeing / McDonnell Douglas.