Thursday, July 11, 2013

A pilot's defense of airline safety

Writing at Slate, pilot Patrick Smith restores a much-needed sense of perspective to the issue of airplane safety in the wake of the Korean airliner crash in San Francisco this past Saturday.  Here's an illuminating quote from an overall excellent article:
It is imperative to remember that Saturday’s accident was the first multiple-fatality crash involving a major airline in North America since November 2001. (There have been a handful involving regional affiliates, but the majors have been virtually accident-free). The streak has ended, but it lasted nearly 12 years, with some 20,000 commercial jetliners taking off and landing safely in this country every single day—an astonishing run. Is it perverse to suggest that Saturday's accident, awful as it was, serves to underscore just how safe commercial flying has become? That's asking a lot, I know, in this era of race-to-the-bottom news coverage, when speed and sizzle, not accuracy or context, are all that really count.
Smith has a lot more interesting observations in his article, available here.