11 Devastating Plane Crashes Caused By Pilot Error

Tenerife Airport Disaster (1977)

The Tenerife Airport Disaster is remembered as the worst accident in aviation history. After a bomb exploded at the Gran Canaria Airport, several flights to the Canary Islands were rerouted to Los Rodeos, an airport on the island of Tenerife. Air traffic controllers struggled to keep up with the increased workload, and heavy fog made visibility on the runway poor. The pilot of KLM 4805 mistakenly believed he was clear for takeoff due to a miscommunication between his crew and the air traffic controllers. The plane rammed Pan Am Flight 1736 at takeoff speed, killing five hundred and eighty three people.

Adam Air Flight 574 (2007)

While the flight crew was preoccupied with a malfunction of the internal reference system, the plane’s autopilot was inadvertently disabled and it began to descend. The pilot failed to correct a slow right roll which eventually caused complete loss of control. All one hundred and two passengers and crew aboard died when the plane plummeted into the ocean. The crash prompted large-scale reforms to Indonesia’s transportation industry. Adam Air was accused of gross negligence and banned from flying in Indonesia. They declared bankruptcy shortly afterward.