In the Event of an Emergency Landing: Deadliest Plane Crashes Quiz


By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Despite more people flying today than 70 years ago, there are 1.33 deaths for every 100,000 hours that commercial planes are in the air. That's way down from flying during the golden age, though. Here are some of the deadliest flight disasters ever.

When was the first plane crash?

In 1908, five years after the Wright brothers took to the air at Kitty Hawk, Orville crashed a Flyer at a flight exhibition, killing his passenger and severely injuring himself.


Which flight was involved in the worst airplane disaster, regarding number of deaths, in aviation history?

All 583 people on Pan Am Flight 1736 and 355 of the 396 passengers and crew of KLM Flight 4805 were killed when the planes collided on the runway at Los Rodeos airport in Spain.


Which is the deadliest plane disaster on U.S. soil?

On Friday, May 25, 1979, the 258 passengers and 13 crew on American Airlines Flight 191 were heading to Los Angeles when the plane's No. 1 engine pylon structure fell off the aircraft during takeoff, causing it to roll and nosedive into the ground of an open field near a trailer park, only about 4,680 feet (1,430 meters) northwest of the departure end of the runway.


How long did it take to find the wreckage of an Avro 618 Ten crash, the first significant plane crash in Australia?

It took 27 years for the wreckage of the Avro 618 Ten crash, which killed all eight people on board, to be found.


When was the first in-flight fire to occur on a commercial plane?

On Oct. 2, 1926, all passengers and crew were killed when an Air Union Bleriot 155 caught fire in midair and crashed at Leigh, Kent, England.


What cryptic message did a British South American Airways Avro Lancastrian named "Stardust" send before it disappeared over the Andes?

Before its disappearance over the Andes in 1947, the fated flight transmitted "STENDEC" in Morse code. No one has yet been able to figure out what "STENDEC" means.


Who was the first person to die in a plane crash?

Thomas Selfridge, a 26-year-old lieutenant in the Army Signal Corps, was killed in 1908 during the Wright brothers' flight exhibition, when the Flyer Orville was piloting crashed.


What collided with American Airlines Flight 28, causing it to crash in Chino Canyon near Palm Springs?

American Airlines Flight 28 crashed on Oct. 23, 1942, after being struck by a B-34 Lexington bomber.


Which is NOT a conspiracy theory about why Malaysia Air Flight MH370 crashed in 2014?

After Flight 370 departed from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for Beijing early on March 8, 2014, the lack of evidence about the cause of the crash triggered all of these theories.


Which flight caused the industry to begin preflight demonstrations for a water landing?

Pam Am Flight 526A sank within three minutes after taking off from San Juan, Puerto Rico, crashing about 4 or 5 miles (6 or 8 kilometers) offshore. Because many passengers refused to deplane, the industry began its plane safety campaign.


Where did the Zeppelin Hindenburg crash when trying to land at Naval Air Engineering Station?

The Hindenburg, which burst into flames before it could land at Naval Air Engineering Station, crashed in Lakehurst, New Jersey.


Who was killed "the day the music died"?

Feb. 4, 1959, became known as "the day the music died" when Buddy Holly, Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens died in a plane crash.


True or false: When evacuating a plane crash, you should bring your overhead luggage and all personal belongings.

When leaving a crash site, pausing to collect your belongings could be the difference between life and death for you and your fellow passengers.


What seats are usually the safest place to sit on a commercial flight?

A Popular Mechanics study of commercial plane crashes since 1973 found that people sitting in the rear of the cabin had a 40 percent better change of surviving. Another recent experiment with test dummies found that when all first class passengers died in a crash simulation, 78 percent of people seated in the rear would, theoretically, survive.


True or false: Most crashes happen during the first three minutes and last eight minutes of a flight.

Federal Aviation Administration plane crash expert David Palmerton found about 80 percent of crashes happen either in the first three minutes or the last eight minutes of a flight.


If a plane explodes while flying at 35,000 feet (11,000 meters), about how long will it take for a person to hit the ground?

If your plane explodes at 35,000 feet, it will take about three minutes for you to hit the ground.


What's the best position you can be in if you fall to the earth from a midair plane crash?

Falling face down, with your arms and legs stretched out, will slow your descent more than other positions, because it allows you to take advantage of wind resistance.


Sitting how many rows, on average, away from any exit row gives you better odds of escaping a plane on fire?

On average, says British academic Ed Galea and expert on plane crashes, you need to sit five rows away from any exit row to have a chance of surviving a fiery crash.


How fast are flight crews trained to evacuate a plane?

Not counting unruly passengers who ignore safety instructions, flight crews are trained to evacuate a plane in 95 seconds.


What can you do in-flight to increase your odds of surviving a crash?

These things can help increase your odds of surviving a plane crash.


Can an airplane's landing gear be lowered even if the plane loses power?

Yes, a plane's landing gear can be lowered even after a power failure.


Who investigates aviation accident reports when planes crash in the United States?

The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent federal agency, investigates all U.S. civil aviation incidents, which means all private and commercial nonmilitary flights.


Did the survivors of the 1972 Flight 571 disaster eat their fellow passengers to stay alive during the 72 days they waited for rescue in the Andes?

Yes, it is. After crashing in the Andes, survivors of the 1972 Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 disaster ate the few chocolate bars and bottles of wine they had before deciding to eat the dead.


Which is the deadliest plane crash for people on the ground?

Between 225 and 348 people on the ground were killed in 1996 when an Air Africa flight crashed into a nearby marketplace.


How long was Japan Airlines Flight 123 in the air before the rear bulkhead failed, damaging the rudder and the aircraft's hydraulic systems?

Just 12 minutes after Flight 123 took off, its rear bulkhead failed, taking with it the pilot's ability to control the plane.


When was the first crash where a flight recorder was used in the crash investigation?

The collision between United Airlines Flight 826 and Trans World Airlines Flight 266 on Dec. 16, 1960, was the first crash to use flight recorder information in the crash investigation.


How many people were killed when Japanese Airlines Flight 123 crashed in Mount Osutaka shortly after takeoff?

On Aug. 12, 1985, 520 people were killed in what was Japan's deadliest commercial single aircraft accident after the aft pressure bulkhead was ruptured in flight. The flight subsequently crashed into the Osutaka Ridge, where it burst into flames just 44 minutes after takeoff. Only four people survived.


Between 1945 and today, which country has the highest number of fatal commercial aircraft accidents?

Brazil and Russia may be in the top five countries with high numbers of fatalities from plane crashes, but it's the U.S. that holds the No. 1 position.


Where did the worst midair collision in aviation history take place?

The worst midair collision and one of the deadliest plane crashes happened in 1996, when Saudia Flight 763 collided with Air Kazakhstan Flight 1907 over Charkhi Dadri. This accident spurred the civil aviation authority of India to make the traffic collision avoidance system mandatory on its planes.


In 1974, when a Turkish Airlines DC-10 crashed after taking off from Paris because its cargo door had blown off, was it faulty aircraft design or sabotage?

When the representative from failure analysis associates arrived to inspect the wreckage, he noticed the pins in the cargo door had been filed down. Sabotage? It sounds like it, but actually it was ground crews during a stop in Turkey who filed a quarter-inch off the pins, changing the door to yield to 15 pounds of pressure rather than the 300 pounds it was designed to withstand.


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