Mid-air scares on the rise, study shows

Mid air scare: Broken windows, blown tires and bird strikes

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- For some it's hard enough getting over their "fear of flying," now throw in mid-air mishaps and you're asking for a travel nightmare.

From drunken brawls to bird strikes in the sky, mid-air scares are happening more often.  NBC Charlotte obtained a list of aircraft incidents from the Federal Aviation Administration.  When combing through documents, our investigation uncovered shocking statistics anyone flying should know about.

According to a new study, there were nearly 11,000 air rage incidents worldwide in 2015. Whereas in 2014, there were more than 9,000 air rage incidents reported.  Numbers this year are taking off.

An unruly passenger was arrested shortly after an American Airlines plane landed on the tarmac at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport this summer.  FAA reports revealed a quarter of the incidents similar to this one involve alcohol.

"It happened to me personally on a flight where somebody got drunk on wanted to start a fight with me," said Paul Godwin, a frequent flyer.

Unruly irate passengers aren't the only one's causing turbulence in the cabin. Over the years, NBC Charlotte discovered there are a number of things making for a bumpy ride.

There are thousands of bird strikes each year. In 2015, the FAA reported more than 13,000 wildlife strikes across the U.S.

"That's the biggest fear we have," said Godwin.

At Charlotte-Douglas, statistics show through the end of April there have been 40 bird strikes and more than five bats that collided with aircrafts. That's 10 mid-air scares each month through the first four months of the year.

"People are always on guard," said Denny Deaton, a frequent flyer.

NBC Charlotte obtained a list of FAA incident reports that included aircraft issues such as blown tires and window panes. In one such incident, a cabin window blew out and sent shards of glass into one of the engines of the aircraft.

"Definitely scary," said Deaton.

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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