Prevention of Air Accidents

May 11, 1960

Report Outline
Air Disasters and the Accident Record
Safeguards Against Human Failure
General Accident Prevenfion Measures

Air Disasters and the Accident Record

Concern Over Recent Rash of Plane Crashes

A series of fatal accidents on American scheduled airlines in the last months of 1959 and the first months of 1960 has provoked a searching re-examination of air safety practices by the airlines and by branches of the government concerned with aviation. The Senate Commerce Committee's Aviation subcommittee held hearings last winter to try to find out if there was a dominant pattern of causes for the rash of disasters. The Federal Aviation Agency in turn issued various new regulations intended to raise safety standards on the nation's airlines and to improve an already generally favorable accident record.

Three airliner crashes in the first three months of this year took 147 lives. Thirty-four died when a dynamite blast destroyed a National Airlines plane near Bolivia, N. C., Jan. 6; 50 were killed near Holdcroft, Va., Jan. 18, when a Capital Airlines transport apparently suffered engine failure; and 63 persons perished, March 17, when a Northwest Airlines turbo-prop Electra disintegrated in flames near Tell City, Ind.—possibly torn apart by severe air turbulence. After the second crash, Sen. R. Vance Hartke (D Ind.) suggested grounding of all commercial airliners for exhaustive safety checks. After the Tell City crash, the Civil Aeronautics Board recommended grounding of all Electras for careful inspection. However, the Federal Aviation Agency did not consider such sweeping action necessary in either case.

The accidents early this year followed nine fatal crashes in 1959 that killed 198 passengers and 28 members of airline crews. Scheduled air carriers last year had the higheat fatality rate since 1952 and suffered more fatal accidents than in any year since 1951, when the same number occurred. Fatalities in domestic airline accidents in 1959 numbered 226.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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May 15, 2015  Airline Safety
Oct. 18, 2013  Domestic Drones
Mar. 07, 2008  Future of the Airlines
Jun. 21, 2002  Future of the Airline Industry
Sep. 24, 1999  Airline Industry Problems
Oct. 08, 1993  Airline Safety
Oct. 24, 1986  Airline Deregulation
Oct. 19, 1984  Safety in the Air
Nov. 26, 1982  Troubled Air Transport Industry
Jun. 25, 1976  Air Safety
Mar. 21, 1975  Air-Fare Control
Jan. 27, 1971  Future of the Airlines
Sep. 10, 1969  Jumbo Jets: New Travel Era
Feb. 22, 1967  Airport Modernization
Mar. 18, 1964  Supersonic Transport Race
Feb. 07, 1962  Troubles of the Airlines
May 11, 1960  Prevention of Air Accidents
Sep. 17, 1958  Safety in the Air
May 23, 1956  Jet Age Problems
May 20, 1953  Safer Flying
Feb. 26, 1947  Air Safety
Jun. 08, 1944  Domestic Air Transportation
Apr. 08, 1944  International Air Transport
Mar. 02, 1939  Transatlantic Air Commerce
Jul. 14, 1927  Commercial Aeronautics
Jun. 20, 1925  Development of Commercial Air Navigation
Air Safety and Security