In the past five years, there have been 107 airplane crashes in South Carolina (SC) and the majority involved private pilots, according to scnow.com. Many private pilots are individuals who do not make a living as pilots but rather take to the skies on the weekends and/or holidays. In fact, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) only requires you to have 40 training hours before getting your private pilot’s license. A commercial pilot is required to have 200 training hours.
Is the reduced number of training hours the culprit of these SC airplane accidents? No one can say for sure. We do know a study revealed that 45 percent of plane wrecks involve pilots who have less than 100 hours of training and human error was the biggest contributing factor to plane crashes.
However, bumping up the required number of hours for prospective pilots does not guarantee safety in the skies. There are so many variables to consider such as weather patterns, mechanical flaws, and flying at night. Even pilots with hundreds of flight hours under their belt can have trouble in a storm or flying in the dead of night.
One idea to try and cut down on the number of airplane accidents is to streamline the training process for new pilots. Different pilots are trained in different ways, according to the General Aviation Manager of the Horry County, SC Department of Airports. For example, someone looking to fly at night usually requires more skills and more training. But what happens when someone who has been trained to fly exclusively during the day winds up having to fly during dusk or at night? There needs to be a complete overview of flight variations and a new pilot should fly both during the day and at night, so they have that experience.
Let’s hope SC officials are taking the time to review their guidelines and regulations for new pilots, and in general. Over 100 airplane crashes in five years is far too many.