Two small planes crashed in the mountains in Southern California Monday, killing one pilot. A spokesman for the Los Angeles County sheriff said that one plane crashed into a ridge after the collision while the other landed on a golf course fairway. The three passengers in the second plane suffered minor injuries and were able to walk away from the plane crash.
The pilot was the only occupant of the first plane. He had taken off in order to test his plane's engine, which many have contributed to the small plane accident.
Small Plane Accidents: Common, Deadly
Planes should never cross paths in flight. Both the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the accident to determine why the planes crossed and whether mechanical defects, pilot error or air traffic control errors played a role.
Small plane accidents are much more common than commercial airplane accidents. In fact, according to the NTSB, 97 percent of all aviation accidents are small plane accidents. Every day, five small planes crash in the U.S.
Small plane accidents are also more deadly than many other types of vehicle accidents. Nearly 500 people die each year. And according to NTSB chief Deborah Hersman, "Almost all of these accidents are preventable."
The NTSB has put small plane safety as one of its top priorities. It believes better pilot training, including emergency training, can reduce the number of small plane accidents.
Learn more by visiting our page on aviation accidents.
Source: USA Today, "One Dead After Two Small Planes Collide Near L.A.," Associated Press, Apr. 30, 2013