Few of us have fears of going on a boat. After all, even if the titanium tub is to sink, we can at least expect to float or swim to safety! Of course, that ignores such factors as stormy seas, hypothermia, and others forces of nature that are conspiring to kill us. However, many more people – including me – are afraid of flying, probably owing to the flightless nature of humanity. But if you read these 4 facts, maybe you’ll be a lot less scared of stepping on a plane!
- Statistics say that aviation is super safe
In 2015, there was a 1 in 114 chance that an American would die in a car accidental. In comparison, the chance of dying in an airplane accident was 9,821. The reason why airplane crashes are notable because of their casualty numbers – and because of their rarity. Cars, however, crash every day and kill a lot more people. It’s not just the numbers that are working against them – of course there is going to be more car crashes, there’s a bajillion cars out there – but also the features that surround the modes of transportation.
To put it bluntly, there’s really no controlling who drives a car and what the technical state of vehicle is. Sure, a driver might get pulled over by the cops or a car might have to go for regular checkups. But nobody is checking the drivers every time they sit behind the wheel and a car can forego maintenance for ages. Airplanes and pilots are scrutinized much more closely, and that’s why it’s so rare for a flight to go south.
- Turbulence is nothing to be afraid of
Turbulence is one of the scariest things for a fearful passenger to encounter while flying. These aerial potholes shake the plane a bit, and that’s not a pleasant feeling for anyone aboard. It’s extremely unsettling and brings out the fear of falling in most of us. The way the wings move during turbulence doesn’t help, either.
However, experts state that it’s extremely rare for a plane to crash via turbulence. For one, they are built extremely well, with years of engineering experience behind every decision. Even the bendiness of wings is a feature that helps the plane remain intact. Meanwhile, the pilots have training to deal with this and for them, turbulence is basically a pothole. However, unlike a real pothole on a solid road, it’s unlikely to affect their vehicle.
- Pilot training is exceedingly hard and demanding
To become a simple commercial pilot in the US, you need at least 250 flight hours (including 100 hours of pilot-in-command 50 hours of cross-country flight) as well as at least 10 hours of instrument training (when you can’t trust your eyes) and 10 hours in a complex aircraft.
It is significantly harder to become a commercial airline pilot or a captain. It took one plane crash in the US for them to up the required flight hours for captains of passenger flights to 1500. This doubled the amount of time needed for the most experienced members of the crew. This requirement was one of the culprits behind the pilot shortage you might have heard about. And that’s not the only requirement that goes into hundreds of hours. Your trials and travails to get a license from a DMV are nothing in comparison to what a pilot must endure.
Similarly, many regulations dictate how the pilots fly – and how they don’t. There are mandated rest hours, and they invariably have a second pilot as a backup/safety. There are no such safety measures to ensure that Bob the Drunk BMW fan won’t wrap his car around the tree. However, planes are kind of a big deal and thus pilots are on a much shorter leash.
- Plane maintenance is a serious business
No matter how much you’d love to blame the squishy component found between the pilot seat and flight stick, the technical state of the plane is plenty important, too. Experts agree: a plane is a lot easier to fly if it doesn’t have bits and pieces falling off.
That’s why airplanes have strict maintenance schedules. Actually, the intensity of aircraft maintenance is split into four categories, from A to D. “A check” is the easiest one, conducted every 400-600 flight hours or 200-300 cycles (a “cycle” is one instance of an airplane taking off and landing). It only lasts about 10 hours. C checks happen about once in two years and feature extensive disassembly of aircraft that puts it out of working order for a month or two. D checks are insane to the point of removing paint to check the integrity of the skin of the plane. They costs millions and airlines plan for them in years in advance.
European Commission law considers maintenance an important duty of all airlines. Thus if you’re a passenger who experienced flight delays and cancellation due to maintenance issues, you deserve compensation. If this happened to you – or if you experienced other flight disturbances – check us out at Skycop, see if you’re eligible for compensation!