Exploring the 7 Most Common Safety Incidents in Aviation and Aerospace

In no other industry compared to aviation and aerospace is safety as critical. Despite all the rigorous safety protocols and procedures in place to ensure the well-being of passengers, crew, and assets, safety incidents can occur, ranging from minor occurrences to critical emergencies.

Here are the seven most common safety incidents in aviation and aerospace, giving insights on their causes, implications, and strategies for prevention.

Bird Strikes

Bird strikes pose a significant safety risk to aircraft, particularly during takeoff and landing phases. Birds colliding with aircraft can damage engines, windshields, and other critical components, potentially leading to accidents or emergency landings. To mitigate this risk, airports and airlines employ measures such as bird control programs, wildlife management, and aircraft modifications to reduce the likelihood of bird strikes.

Runway Incursions

Runway incursions occur when unauthorized vehicles, aircraft, or personnel enter active runways without clearance, endangering the safety of aircraft on approach or departure. Miscommunications, pilot errors, or air traffic control lapses can contribute to runway incursions. Enhanced training for air traffic controllers, improved runway signage and lighting, and the use of advanced runway monitoring systems help prevent such incidents and enhance runway safety.

Turbulence and In-flight Upsets

Turbulence and in-flight upsets represent common safety incidents that can result in passenger injuries, discomfort, or loss of control of the aircraft. Turbulence, caused by atmospheric conditions or wake turbulence from other aircraft, can lead to sudden jolts or movements during flight. Training pilots in turbulence avoidance techniques, utilizing weather forecasting tools, and implementing passenger safety briefings help mitigate the effects of turbulence and ensure passenger comfort.

Aircraft Ground Damage

Aircraft ground damage occurs during ground operations, such as taxiing, parking, or servicing, and can result from collisions with ground vehicles, equipment, or infrastructure. Ramp personnel errors, inadequate training, or poor visibility conditions contribute to ground damage incidents. Implementing strict ground handling procedures, enhancing communication between ground crews and pilots, and utilizing ground movement surveillance systems minimize the risk of aircraft ground damage.

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Fueling and Hazmat Incidents

Fueling and hazardous materials (hazmat) incidents pose safety risks during aircraft refueling and cargo handling operations. Fuel spills, improper fueling procedures, or mishandling of hazardous materials can lead to fires, explosions, or environmental contamination. Training fueling personnel in safe handling practices, conducting regular equipment inspections, and implementing emergency response protocols are essential for preventing fueling and hazmat incidents and ensuring the safety of personnel and the environment.

Maintenance Errors

Maintenance errors, including maintenance discrepancies, incorrect repairs, or inadequate maintenance procedures, can compromise the airworthiness and safety of aircraft. Human factors, such as fatigue, distraction, or inadequate training, contribute to maintenance-related safety incidents. Implementing comprehensive maintenance training programs, conducting thorough quality assurance checks, and promoting a culture of safety and accountability among maintenance personnel help prevent maintenance errors and ensure the integrity of aircraft maintenance practices.

Weather-related Incidents

Weather-related incidents, such as lightning strikes, icing, or severe weather encounters, pose safety risks to aircraft during flight operations. Pilots must navigate through adverse weather conditions, exercise sound decision-making, and adhere to weather avoidance procedures to minimize the risk of weather-related incidents. Utilizing weather radar systems, receiving timely weather updates, and establishing clear weather diversion plans enhance aircraft safety in adverse weather conditions.


By understanding and addressing the seven most common safety incidents in aviation and aerospace, industry stakeholders can enhance safety protocols, improve training programs, and implement proactive measures to mitigate risks and ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals involved in aviation operations. Through continuous vigilance, collaboration, and adherence to best practices, the aviation and aerospace industries can maintain their exemplary safety record and uphold the highest standards of safety and professionalism in the skies.

If you're looking for a platform to collect more data to monitor your organisation's incident reporting practices, Falcony | Observe have you covered. You can find more information on our website or test out our 30-day free trial: 

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By doing this, we are making work more meaningful for all parties involved.

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