The airlines don’t want you to know how safe flying really is. They think it would hurt them if people knew how few accidents happen, and how much safer it is than driving.
I’ve always thought this was strange. Partly because I am a scientist: in my world, facts are good things and should be shared with everyone. But also because as a passenger, I want to be informed. If there is something that would reassure me about flying, I want to know what it is.
So I decided to write this blog. My idea was to show you the actual statistics about airline safety, the numbers behind the news stories about airplane crashes. I wanted to show you not just that flying is safe, but why it is safe, and why it is safer than most activities of daily life. And I wanted to help you understand what makes flying dangerous when it does happen to go wrong.
As a frequent traveler, I spend a lot of time thinking about airline security. This blog covers tips and techniques for staying safe on flights.
Each day, 100,000 people fly in the United States alone. But no matter how many precautions you take, traveling by airplane is dangerous. In fact, it’s one of the most dangerous activities that most people do on a regular basis. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of travel-related violence.
While there is always some risk involved in air travel, it’s important to remember that this risk is small compared to the many benefits that flying provides.
* Flying is much safer than driving a car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the number of road fatalities per billion passenger miles traveled in 2006 was 1.54. By contrast, the National Transportation Safety Board puts the fatality rate for air travel at 0.07 per billion passenger miles traveled in 2007, or just over one-twentieth as dangerous as driving
We have a lot of inquiries from people who want to know how safe it is to fly on airlines. In this blog, we will post the results of our analysis and summarize the information about airline safety.
In the meantime, if you want to get some basic information about airline flight safety, please check out this article: “Is it safe to fly?”
Welcome to my blog. My name is John Watson, and I’m a professional airline pilot. I’ve been flying planes for nearly twenty years now, and I love it. I also love to read about aviation safety, and that’s what this site is all about.
I plan to post several times each week with brief reviews of books and articles about aviation safety. I’ll also post some original content from time to time, including excerpts from my own writing on the topic.
In the debate over airline safety, some people have proposed switching to a system based on “trusted pilots.” The idea is to replace expensive, complex security screening with a simpler system: just ask each pilot if they’re a terrorist. If they say no, let them fly!
This is crazy for obvious reasons. But some of the objections you normally hear to this proposal don’t apply as much to trusted fliers. There’s no cost of false positives (letting non-terrorists fly), because non-terrorists are what we want to let fly anyway. And there’s no need for universal coverage, because even if only a small percentage of flights are trusted-fliers-only, that might be enough.
So the problem with trusting pilots boils down to this: how sure are you that your pilot isn’t a terrorist? And the answer is: not very sure at all. We know this from experience. In 2001, one of the terrorists on 9/11 was a pilot who had been trained by an American flight school.
In 2012, about one in 2.4 million flights resulted in a fatal accident. The risk of dying on any given flight is approximately one in 11 million.
If you take just one flight per day, at these rates you will have to wait over 30,000 years before you die in a plane crash.
The chances are also good that your next flight will be completely uneventful.
To put things in perspective, below are some other risks you may encounter on your travels:
Air travel is now safer than ever, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have its dangers.