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Why Flying Is Really The Safest Form Of Travel

By Aviation Expert

Monday, November 13,, 2017.

I often hear people say that flying is the safest form of transport, but what exactly does that mean? I always think that it’s just a misinterpretation of statistics because fewer people are flying than driving, and there’s less chance of accidents because of a lack of obstacles. What they actually mean is that you are statistically less likely to die in a plane crash than you are a car crash. While that might be true, people are still worried about flying, especially after increases in the risk of terrorism. The truth is, you’re more likely to get eaten by a shark than you are to be on a plane that is attacked. Airport security is at its highest level in history and the risk of somebody carrying out a successful attack is tiny.


Image From Pixabay

So, We’ve established that flying is statistically safer than driving, but why is that?

They’re Tested More

It’s not uncommon to see a car advert with footage of the crash test to prove how safe they are. You don’t get that with airlines but that doesn’t mean they aren’t tested. In fact, planes go through far more extensive testing than cars before they’re sold to the airlines. They go through aircraft vibration testing to make sure that they can withstand the stresses of flying without any joints breaking or fixings coming loose. They also carry out wing strength tests that involve bending the wing until it snaps, usually using way more force than they would ever actually experience during flight. You’ve probably seen a movie where a plane crashes because a bird gets stuck in the engine. That’s complete nonsense because they test specifically for that by throwing a chicken into the engine to make sure it doesn’t damage it too much. The same tests are carried out on the windscreen and using other obstacles as well. Beyond that, they do all of the tests that you’d expect, like trying the brakes and making sure that it can withstand temperature and altitude.

Oxygen Masks Do Work

There’s a myth floating around that the oxygen masks on planes don’t do anything. That’s partly because the bags don’t fill up, but the movie Fight Club takes the lion's share of the blame. In the movie, Brad Pitt’s character Tyler Durden says that they’re only there to keep people calm during the crash and you don’t really need them. Most people that have seen the movie believe it but it’s not true. If the cabin becomes depressurized, you’ll probably lose consciousness in about fifteen seconds. Unless you use that oxygen mask of course.

Engines Aren’t That Important

Even if that thing with the bird that you see in movies was true, it wouldn’t really matter. Most commercial planes can fly with just the one engine. The engines are there to provide thrust, they aren’t keeping it in the air. So if you’ve only got one engine then you’ll still be able to fly, just a little slower. But if both engines go out you’re in trouble, right? Wrong. The plane can actually glide to a landing fairly safely without any engines at all.

Hopefully, that’s put your mind at ease and you won’t worry so much next time you go traveling by plane.  

Why Flying Is Really The Safest Form Of Travel

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