Is Flying Safe?

Last night I was watching a documentary on Channel  4 about the crash of Air France Flight 447. The main cause of the crash is well known; frozen pitot tubes lead to the pilots being given inaccurate speed readings in the cockpit. This caused their instruments to give them inaccurate readings and due to the dark outside the cockpit they couldn’t tell what attitude the aircraft was flying at. Eventually the nose high attitude of the aircraft caused it to stall and crash into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 people on board.

One of the questions posed at the start of the program was ‘Is Flying Safe?

Of course it is! Airlines and aircraft manufacturers have very rigorous tests which they have to pass with flying colours. The failed pitot tubes on AF447 passed their tests easily and without problem.

Aircraft crashes grab the attention because so many lives are lost at one time and that they are rare. If you were to compare the statistics of how many people died on the roads in the world today and how many people died in aircraft crashes today, the roads would be on top by a huge margin.

Aircraft Window

Each time an aircraft crashes or has a technical problem it is thoroughly investigated to make the next flight even safer. Think back to the early 50’s where several De Havilland Comets broke up in mid-air due to stress concentration. Back in the early days of commercial aviation it was sometimes a lottery if you would land at your intended destination. Thanks (used loosely) to those crashes the aircraft we fly in today are a lot safer and have much more automation to remove workload from the pilots.

To make things even safer for passengers the EU has a list of airlines which are banned from flying within the EU. All for various reasons, but aimed at bringing more safety for the passengers.

Global Travel

With the ever-expanding world which we live in air travel is only going to become more common and to travel between countries you’ll have the choice of a 2 hour flight or a 3 day bus ride. Flying is still safe, the incidents which you read about in the press are rare and isolated and the causes of these crashes are  (almost) always discovered. These discoveries make the next flights safer for everyone.

Stop wondering about flying a just jump on the plane. You’re more likely to be killed going to the shops for a pint of milk!


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