Many Small Plane Crashes Preventable

ABC News Jim Avila reports on the training of private pilots.
2:10 | 03/18/13

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Transcript for Many Small Plane Crashes Preventable
Up next tonight, so many small planes crashing. 11 of them this weekend. And they have created new alarm. So, abc's jim I haavila heads out on a test flight to find out why this is happening. Reporter: My plane is stalled at 3,000 feet. It is the entering a death spiral. Too often for private pilots, their final view of earth. The first time a pilot is in a spin is when they're in trouble. Yes. Typically it will be the last thing they ever see. Reporter: Sometimes they do get lucky, like this idaho pilot who walked away when his plane stalled into the tree tops. Just this weekend, there were nine fatalities in 11 small plane crashes nationwide. This one into a house in south bend, indiana, killing two. Another in ft. Lauderdale, killing three. All are under investigation. When we see crashes in aviation, 97% of those fatalities occur in general aviation. Reporter: There are more private pilots in the air now than ever before. All planes average five accidents a day, nearly 500 americans die in small planes each year. Frankly, almost all of these accidents are preventable. Reporter: Private pilots don't get the training they need to recover from emergency. Says the spin doctor, rich stoll. How many have you done? More than 33,000. Reporter: He teaches private pilots like me to overcome panic and human instinct to survive straight stall. Barrel rolls caused by high wind or turbulence. Whoa. And that deadly spin towards the ground. Whoa, baby. I usually tell people, the first thousands spins are the hardest. Reporter: For pilots, the most difficult thing is to resist pulling up when the plane stalls, instead, pushing the controls toward the ground. We have to replace that survival instinct with the brain telling the body, no, you have to do this and you have to do that. Reporter: Experience that few of the 220,000 private american pilots today actually have. Jim avila, abc news, santa paula, california.

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