Human Factors in Aviation Safety
28 February 2012
John F. Kennedy Jr.
On the night of July 16, 1999 a small single engine plane N9253N near Martha’s Vineyard crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. The pilot was John F. Kennedy Jr., and passenger’s wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and his sister in law Lauren Bessette. What caused their death’s that night? There were occurrences that led up to their tragedy. It’s suggested that the causes were visibility, weather, lack of experience, and pilot fatigue.
John F. Kennedy’s plane was scheduled to leave during 6 pm from Essex County Airport in N.J. Kennedy’s sister in law was delayed at work and the traffic pushed the flight back. because of circumstances they took off at 8:39 pm. On the night of the crash there was haze. It made it difficult for Kennedy to pilot the plane. The visibility was between 5 and 8 miles. Before he took off the visibility was said to have been between 4 to 10 miles. “According to the Weather Service International, Kennedy made two weather requests before taking off.” All though Kennedy took off that night there was one pilot that opted to cancel a flight that night because of poor weather. When it came to flying Kennedy lacked flying experience for IFR (instrument flight rules). Kennedy had about 310 hours of experience which 55 hours were at night. In April 1998 he was given a private pilot license, and did not have an instrument rating. On Kennedy’s own plane he made 36 hours and 9.4 hours were at night. He did not have much experience flying his plane at night. The last night that Kennedy had flown without a CFI was on May 28 1999. Kennedy had 3 hours without CFI on board, and only 48 minutes was flown at night, which included just one night landing He could fly the airplane, but needed more training when it came down to performing other tasks without a visible horizon. Six weeks before the crash, Kennedy fractured his left ankle in a paragliding...