While an average of 70 percent of people report harboring some fear of flying, commercial air travel is still by far the safest form of transportation you can take. Nevertheless, that fact in and of itself doesn’t prevent a large swath of the general public from experiencing anxiety associated with flying. To help make sense of this issue, let's take a look at what some of the most recent events and statistics reveal about the current state of flying in the United States.
Prior to April 17, 2018 — when Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 experienced a mid-flight engine explosion that resulted in the death of one of its passengers — the last time a fatal crash occurred on a U.S. commercial airline was over nine years earlier.
Interestingly, between 2009 and 2018, nearly 100 million U.S. commercial flights — cumulatively carrying billions of passengers — safely took off and landed. That record-setting period of time forms an unbroken safety record that has yet to be matched in modern aviation history.
Statistics on the Safety of Flying
As a result of exhaustive data collection and research, the National Safety Council recently published the chances of perishing from different forms of preventable deaths in the U.S. during 2017. Unsurprisingly, the chances of passing away from heart disease tops the list, with odds of one in six. And for the very first time, Americans’ chances of dying from an overdose of opioids — one in 96 — topped the chances of dying in a car crash — one in 103.
The next form of death due to a mode of transportation was a motorcycle crash — one in 858. In contrast, your chances of dying from an airplane crash — one in 188,364 — represented one of the least likely forms of fatalities on the entire list.
To put air safety in America into perspective, in 2017, you were four times more likely to die from bee stings, six times more likely to die in a cataclysmic storm and 21 times more likely to die from sunstroke than dying due to an airplane crash.
How Safe Is Flying at Night?
In the U.S., there’s really no indication that flying at night poses any greater risk to passengers than flying by day. According to global flight statistics, nighttime accidents may involve more fatalities than accidents that occur during daylight hours. Yet the fact that U.S. airlines are so well maintained and that their pilots are so well trained means flying at night is as safe as flying during the day.
Remember: Organizations like the NTSB and FAA monitor potential hazards on all U.S. air travel. So if nighttime flights were really more dangerous, further safety precautions would be put into place to correct the issue.
How Safe Is Flying in Turbulence?
Thanks to advancements in aircraft design and technology, turbulence isn’t so much of a danger to airplanes. However, it’s a potential source of harm to passengers who forget the cardinal rule of in-flight safety: If you’re seated, wear your seatbelt.
When an aircraft hits certain types of turbulence, it can drop suddenly. If you’re not belted in properly, turbulence can make it appear as though you’re being lifted up and out of your seat. In reality, it’s the plane that drops while you remain suspended in the air — susceptible to being struck by some part of the descending cabin.
Hopefully these facts and statistics have helped you put flying in the United States into better focus. For more ways to increase the safety of airline maintenance and the equipment used by ground personnel, contact us today.