Is the economy causing more planes to crash?

Jason Cochran

Have you noticed that suddenly, the headlines seem to be filled with airplane accidents?

It's not your imagination. In 2007, there were 17 major air crashes. In 2008, there were 19. But the Flight Safety Foundation reports that so far this year, there have already been 11 crashes, and if we continue at this rate, the tally could exceed 20 by the end of the year.

Already, 499 people have died this year, which is significantly more than the six-month average of 344 for this decade.

"The number of major crashes during the past five years is higher than recent five-year periods, a disturbing trend to aviation safety advocates who have seen steady and dramatic improvements in recent decades," according to a USA Today story..