I'm working on getting my PPL, and I would like to read more about the specific causes of small private aircraft (single or twin prop, primarily) crashing, especially those that were caused by pilot error. Are there any good books or other resources on this matter? A decent amount of searching hasn't turned up much -- it seems like the data from private charter jets is often combined with that of the aircraft I'm interested in.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Let me start by saying that your idea is great! Learning from the mistakes of others is important, and anyone who aspires to be a better airman would do well to follow your example. I would suggest, however, that the causes of the larger aircraft crashes often offer excellent learning opportunities as well. Sure, some issues are type specific, but most will offer those great learning opportunities. $\endgroup$
    – J Walters
    Jan 15, 2016 at 20:53
  • $\begingroup$ @JonathanWalters Yes, that makes sense. I suppose I'm looking for some sort of resource that gives detailed descriptions of the conditions leading to the accident and some insight as to how it should have been avoided. $\endgroup$ Jan 15, 2016 at 20:56
  • $\begingroup$ Read this $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Jan 15, 2016 at 20:58
  • $\begingroup$ Related question regarding NTSB reports $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Jan 15, 2016 at 21:19
  • $\begingroup$ FAA interesting classification of GA accidents causes: Human Error and General Aviation Accidents: A Comprehensive, Fine-Grained Analysis Using HFACS. Related book. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Jan 15, 2016 at 21:58

3 Answers 3


The AOPA's Air Safety Institute has quite a few resources that I like to review from time to time, including some great videos with commentary on exceptional cases.

AOPA ASI Accident Analysis Page
AOPA Accident Case Studies
AOPA Real Pilot Stories

I do exactly what you are doing, during training and still after, but I'd like to also say that you shouldn't narrow yourself to GA crashes, a lot of what happens commercially can be applied to GA, and usually with commercial accidents there is a lot more data and analysis available to work with. In that regard, I like to watch shows on Youtube like "Air Crash Investigation", or on TV like "Why Planes Crash" (some available on Youtube)

AOPA also has a lot of resources to view NTSB reports on individual crashes where you can search by certain criteria like aircraft type, states, type of flight, or even some specific keywords like "Vacuum Failure".

Just don't limit yourself to looking at things like "Pilot Error", pilot error is a broad category of crashes that is usually used to describe the pilot doing something wrong in the air, but a lot of crashes are "pilot error" in that the pilot could have broke the accident chain much earlier in the flight. Read as many as you can, regardless of the cause. For example an accident where the aircraft breaks up in flight may not be attributed to pilot error, but its good to know what lead to the break up and what could have been prevented.

  • $\begingroup$ Exactly what I wanted. Also ordered "The Killing Zone" for further reading. $\endgroup$ Jan 15, 2016 at 23:02

The National Transportation Safety Board investigates vehicle-related accidents in the United States and publishes "accident reports" which includes details of the accidents and the findings of the investigators. Go nuts.


Aviation Safety Network is another good place to look.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.