But the past two weeks have added a new dimension to the recipe for air travel anxiety. It’s a near miss on the runway. The press is voracious in reporting on near misses between takeoff and landing, and most of these accidents are serious.In 2023, there were already seven dangerous calls of varying degrees of danger. This includes incidents in Boston, Burbank, California, Austin, Texas, Honolulu, New York, and Baltimore.
Add to that the wing clips of Logan, the violent turbulence over New England, the Leominster man threatening violence with a jagged broken spoon, and the result is an old-fashioned media frenzy, and such things are usually understated. . About Fubuki and Tom Brady on his Instagram account.
All of these events are troubling and deserve news coverage. But often overlooked in the apocalypse coverage and soap operatic questions of FAA leaders by Republican Senator Ted Cruz are facts such as the industry’s safety record.
Author and pilot Patrick Smith said, “I think people are missing a more important point by jumping on these scattered incidents.” It is safe.Today there are few serious accidents, but in the old days there was one or more accidents every year.It is lost to people.
Smith doesn’t pretend to be an industry. His blog (Ask the Pilot) and book (“Cockpit Confidential”) provide an insightful look at the inner workings of airlines. He is a commercial pilot who flies Boeing 757s and 767s for a living. If we were in danger he would say the same thing and probably quit his job instead he’s watching the long game.
“In a way, the media clings to the small cases because there are no more big ones,” he said. “People are drawn to anything to do with airplanes, especially if it hints at danger or scandal.”
That’s exactly why we’re focusing on a post-turbulence video from Matthew McConaughey’s wife. Instead of looking at the facts, it shows the loaves of bread that have moved.
In analyzing FAA data from 2018 to 2022, Politico found 23 near-collision incidents involving commercial airliners or freighters in the United States. The FAA determined that the aircraft “barely avoided” crashes in four of his cases.
In retrospect, there has not been a fatal commercial airline crash in the United States since 2013, when an Asiana Airlines plane crashed into a seawall while landing at San Francisco International Airport, killing three people. yeah. Since 2009, there have been no fatal crashes involving US commercial airlines.
“In 1985 there were 27 serious plane crashes around the world,” Smith said. “For the past few decades, it has been common for large-scale accidents to occur multiple times each year, killing hundreds of people at once.”
Coincidentally or not, the International Air Transport Association, a trade group representing more than 300 airlines, released its annual safety report on Tuesday. In 2022, he found that there will be five fatal accidents worldwide that have claimed the lives of passengers and crew on commercial airlines, down from his seven accidents the year before.
“In 2022, 32.2 million flights will result in five fatalities,” IATA Executive Director Willie Walsh said in a statement accompanying the release. “This shows that flying is one of the safest activities a person can engage in. But even though the risk of flying is very low, it is not without risk.”
Walsh’s statement that flying is safe but not without risk is a huge, uncomfortable asterisk in this column. Experts say the recent string of near misses is a warning sign that airline safety is at a critical juncture. Grazing the headlines There were almost no fatalities in the grazing, but all parties must sit down and start considering what went wrong without blame.
James Hall, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board from 1994 to 2001, said: All levels from retired pilots to flight attendants and mechanics as a result of COVID. “
He said a high turnover rate would require a lot of additional training. He is also concerned that climate change will create more turbulence for travelers, and that new protocols should also be developed for those potential hazards.
“We’re not waiting for tragedy to take action,” he said. “You plan ahead to avoid them.”
In addition to pilot shortages, inexperienced pilots and turnover within airlines are not the only concerns. The pandemic has also reduced the number of air traffic controllers.
“FAA requires air traffic controllers to retire at age 56,” says aviation industry analyst Henry Harteveldt. “It’s the realization that this job is very intense. During the pandemic, especially in 2020, the FAA said that due to COVID protocols, COVID protocols limited the number of people that could be accommodated in an enclosed space for training. We couldn’t hire a lot of air traffic controllers.”
Harteveldt said despite high salaries (the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median annual wage for an air traffic controller was $127,920), the FAA is trying to compete with other industries to recruit new talent. I said that. FAA deputy leader Billy Nollen told Reuters last summer that the FAA plans to hire 1,000 of his air traffic controllers.
But Harteveldt, who knows more about aviation and its intricacies than most of us, said he wouldn’t hesitate to fly despite the recent mishaps.
“We’ll have to look at the numbers, but air travel remains incredibly safe,” he said. “In fact, the United States is one of the safest countries in the world for air travel. I’m planning on it, and I’m not hesitant to get on the plane.”
Christopher Muther can be reached at email@example.com. follow him on twitter @Chris_Mousser and Instagram @chris_muther.