Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2001-11-13 Entry: "One A Week"

There I was, minding my own business, trying to do some work (which, admittedly is rare), when someone declared another plane had hit New York. Cue much scrambling to read news websites that were already completely overloaded - in the end I settled for Ananova's coverage, as at least they know to keep things simple - most sites can't handle delivering streaming media footage to millions of people at once, let alone a handful of images, so CNN, the BBC, and MSNBC all ground to a halt...

What did we learn - well, an engine was on fire shortly after takeoff; the engine landed seperately from the plane (so presumably fell off); the FBI were investigating the possibility of a bomb; and New York was exceedingly lucky that the plane came down vertically...

It's looking more and more like mechanical failure, which brings me to the title - based on current statistics of how often an aircraft crashes, and the increase in global air travel, there should actually be one plane crash a week (worldwide). Currently, we seem to be a long way under that, so air travel appears to be getting safer; but that doesn't discount the figures.

One plane crash a week (that's major airliner; if we were talking light aircraft as well, I'm sure there are quite a few of those that crash each week). Can you imagine the public outcry if these statistics were being fulfilled? Plane travel is still safer than car travel, but a plane going down tends to kill everyone on board, and is highly visible in the media. Car crashes are only occassionally news worthy.

But, just in case you were thinking of flying someone soon, and wanted to know how bad things really were, check out www.amigoingdown.com for exact chances of a safe landing.

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