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Air Show Accidents on the Rise

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Updated December 28, 2018 | Aviation Accidents |


By Chris Stevenson, Attorney, Pilot

The first air show was held outside of Los Angeles, California in 1910. Aviation pioneers gathered to showcase their airplanes and in turn created a new kind of entertainment. This was the first of three air shows held in the same year. From that point on, air shows have gained popularity worldwide with pilots, aviation enthusiasts, and thrill seekers.

The air show business has evolved into the ultimate platform to showcase airplanes, pilots, and world-class airmanship. If you’ve never attended an air show, it’s almost like a county fair. Most air shows have carnival rides, food, and games centered around timed performances by featured aviators, such as the Blue Angels.

Air Show Safety

Along with having fun, safety is always a primary concern of any air show event. The International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) was founded in 1968 with the following mission: “To provide information to air show sponsors and pilots; to promote safety at all aviation events; and to work with government agencies to develop air show safety and standards.”

Air show safety protocols include thorough aircraft inspections. The aircraft performance area is also kept away from the crowd to minimize the danger to the audience in the event of an accident. While air show stunt pilots accept certain known risks when participating, spectators expect to see the show without much consideration or concern for their safety. Unfortunately, air show spectators are sometimes at risk for injury.

Air Show Accident Statistics

In 2010 alone, 82 people suffered personal injuries or were killed, and 35 aircrafts were destroyed. Over the last decade, airshows have averaged 24 accidents per year. Air show accident statistics for 2010 include:

  • Accidents: 31
  • Spectators injured: 48
  • Spectators killed: 1
  • Pilots injured: 10
  • Pilots killed: 14
  • Crew members killed or injured: 9

Contact an Aviation Accident Attorney Today

If you enjoy aviation, generally, airshows are safe and fun events to attend. You’re more likely to sustain injury on the way to the event than at the airshow itself. Nevertheless, airshows do offer a certain element of risk, especially if adequate safety precautions have not been taken to protect spectators.

If you or a loved one have been injured at an airshow, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Aviation Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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