About 1 in 5 people have some form of fear of flying, or “aviophobia.” I was one of them, but my job required me to fly often for many years. To overcome this fright, I studied much about flight design, construction and safety.
Something that helped me considerably was knowing what the odds are of dying in a plane crash.
🔹Odds of dying in a car accident are about one in 5,000.
🔹Odds of being struck by lightning, are one in 13,000 chance for your lifetime.
🔹Your odds of dying in a plane crash are about one in 11,000,000.
🔹Fatal accidents occurred once every 200,000 flights in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, fatal accidents (also including private and small planes) only occur once every two million flights.
Most of my flights were over Texas and Mexico, often in private jets. As the president of a professional trade organization in the 1990s, I was required to give speeches across North America in locations such as New York, LA, Chicago, Orlando, Seattle, Las Vegas, Nashville, Atlantic City and Washington DC. I’ve also traveled to Europe, Cayman Islands and elsewhere.
Another bit of knowledge I learned talking with numerous pilots is that passengers should not be as concerned about turbulence as some individuals might be.
“It’s not a danger. It’s just a nuisance,” one pilot said. “We try to avoid them, naturally, because they are like bumps in the roads for us. I don’t want to spill my coffee and we don’t want you to either. Don’t worry about turbulence.”
Here are facts I learned about flying in general:
🔹Airplanes are designed to withstand lightning strikes.
🔹If you sit at the back of an airplane, your odds of surviving a crash are 40% higher.
🔹Research shows that the first 3 minutes after takeoff and the final 8 minutes before landing are when 80% of plane crashes happen.
When a plane lands at night, cabin crews will dim the interior lights. Why?
In an unlikely event that a plane landing goes badly and passengers need to evacuate, their eyes will already be adjusted to the darkness.
🔹Only 5% of the world’s population had ever been on an airplane till 2013 which drastically increased to approximately 20 percent in 2020.
🔹A Boeing 747 is made up of six million parts which are made to be all controlled by a few pilots sitting up front with switches and buttons under their fingertips.
🔹It is the rule that pilots must be fed the same multi-course meal given to those in the first and business class. However, co-pilots are encouraged to eat different entrees to guard against cases of food poisoning.
🔹Those white lines that planes leave in the sky are simply trails of condensation, hence their technical name of “contrails.” Plane engines release water vapor as part of the combustion process. When that hot water vapor is pumped out of the exhaust and hits the cooler air of the upper atmosphere, it creates those puffy white lines in the sky. It’s basically the same reaction as when you see your breath when it’s cold outside.
🔹Environment inside an airplane can alter the way food and drink tastes—sweet items tasted less sweet, while salty flavors were heightened. The dry recycled air inside the plane cabin doesn’t help either as low humidity can further dull taste and smell making everything in a plane seem bland.
🔹Plane doors can’t actually open in mid-flight.
🔹Australian airline Qantas has never had a fatal accident involving one of its commercial aircrafts.
🔹The fastest commercial plane flew at twice the speed of sound. It was the Concorde, that regularly flew over the Atlantic, and was decommissioned after an accident involving Concorde, in France.
🔹Long-haul flights have secret bedrooms and a bathroom for flight attendants.
🔹Living in an airplane flight path could harm your heart, especially those closer to an airport. Individuals exposed to noise above 60 decibels on a regular basis—like the sound of an airplane overhead—have a 30 percent greater risk of dying from a heart attack than those typically exposed to noise levels under 45 decibels.
🔹Why is there a tiny hole in the airplane windows? It regulates cabin pressure. Most airplane windows are made up of three panels of acrylic. The exterior window keeps the elements out to maintain cabin pressure.
The world’s safest airlines in 2022, according to AirlineRatings.com (out of the 385 different airlines they monitor) are Air New Zealand, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, SAS, Qantas, Alaska Airlines, EVA Air, Virgin Australia/Atlantic, Cathay Pacific Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, American Airlines, Lufthansa/Swiss Group, Finnair, Air France/KLM Group, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Emirates.
AirlineRatings.com also identified their Top 10 safest low-cost airlines. In alphabetical order they are Allegiant, easyjet, Frontier, Jetstar Group, Jetblue, Ryanair, Vietjet, Volaris, Westjet, and Wizz.
The least safe airlines are Pakistan International Airlines, Air Algerie, Scat, Sriwijaya Air, Airblue, Blue Wing, Iran Aseman Airlines, and Nepal Airlines.
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