This question has been asked since the very first airplanes took off, and the very first airlines were established. A lot of people suffer from the fear of flying or traveling on airplanes and consider it safer to travel by car or train than by air.

Aircraft crashes or disappearances only add fuel to the fear of the skeptics. And they begin to question again the safety of air travel. There is a lot of evidence that suggests that travel by air is significantly safer than traveling by a car, but the fact remains that like cars, airplanes also have accidents. But these surveys haven’t done much to calm down the fears of skeptics who want a mode of transportation which is 100% safe. It is a bitter truth to grasp for a regular traveller that no mode of transport is absolutely safe. Security procedures, which airplanes undergo, have been enhanced a good deal and strict precautions are taken to ensure that planes reach their destinations safely.

There are different reasons that could turn a normal day into a bad day. These include: bird strikes, cabin fires, design flaws, terrorist attacks, low or no fuel and so on. Most of errors on an aircraft take place because of errors on the part the pilot, co-pilot etc. There are also surveys which suggest that if something terribly goes wrong aboard a plane carrying more than 10 passengers causing it to crash, then there are 24% chances that a passenger would survive the crash.

There are three agencies that make sure that travel by air remains safe. These are:

(1) The government regulators, whose job is to set the safety standards for the aircrafts.

(2) Then it is upon the manufactures to ensure that the planes which they are producing match/exceed those standards set by the regulators. After being manufactured, each plane undergoes a rigorous safety test.

(3) In the end, the customers, or the airline, who purchase and operate the planes. The airline are responsible for making sure that the pilots, who are working for it, are well trained and possess all the mandatory skills to ensure flight safety.

These processes are in place to make sure that commercial airplanes are safe. But how about the smaller planes? Should we be more nervous when flying on small planes? A surprising answer is: no! Because experience tells us that smaller planes are safer compared with their larger counterparts. One of the reasons that make them safer is their ability to glide back to the earth when run out of fuel. They can glide for tens of kilometers and this allows the pilot to find a safe place to land his/her plane. Passengers on small planes have an 80% chance of survival, should the plane crash.

Boeing and the Airbus are two of world’s largest manufactures of commercial airplanes and they assert flying to be the safest mode of transportation. According to an estimate approximately xxx people fly each day and on day to day basis most airlines have excellent safety records. On safety scale, the airplanes are considered the safest followed by the train and then come the automobiles. A survey in the US calculated: it is twenty two times safes to travel by a plane than it is by a car. Moreover, the safety records have been improving further in the past few years. In figures there is about one chance in 11 million that one is killed in an air-crash compared to 1 in 5000 when driving/traveling in an automobile.

One of the common things that concerns people when traveling in an aircraft is a potential mechanical or an electronic failure. But more planes have fatal accidents due to human error than by a technical failure. Approximately 80% of all crashes are the result of a human error.

Keeping in mind the recent trends, it should be a potential terrorist or a potential hijacking that should worry us than a technical failure.

On the whole, planes will continue to be a major mode of transportation and it is highly unlikely that we would stop traveling by planes. Media always makes headlines when a crashes and presents it as a very big. This creates fear in the common public that the air-travel is not safe enough but in reality it is not so. And one this that we must keep in mind should be: no mode of transport is hundred percent safe.


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Lucas Beaumont
Generalist. Wikipedia contributor. Elementary school teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada.

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