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Old 05-13-2011, 01:20 PM
 
1,446 posts, read 2,247,239 times
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Default Chances of a Plane Crash

Has anyone ever calculated what the risk is in 2011 for a major commerical airline jet to go down? I understand that it is now a very small risk. Since 9/11, I only know of the crash into the Hudson River (in which everyone survived). So I am sure it is very small. But what are the real figures?
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Old 05-13-2011, 01:33 PM
 
Location: North Metro Atlanta
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Death Rate:
Driving 1.4 per million miles
Flying 0.2 per million miles.
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:20 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
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Lentzr there are a gazillion people out there who will spout all of the statistics that you are looking for. How air travel is the safest form of public transit and that you are more likely to be killed or injured driving to the airport than being on an airplane. They will tell you that statistically, there is a greater chance for you to be hit by lightening or winning the lottery.

My thoughts are that there are statistics out there that will prove anything you want them to. I am not convinced by statistics because they can be skewed to support any position.

To give you an example of this aviation accident statistics are usually based upon MILES because that is there strong point. If, instead aviation accident statistics were based upon the number of hours flown by passenger, the picture would be very different.

Most people who die in large commercial plane crashes have typically spent less than 500 hours total in an airplane. Compare that with the amount of time you spend in a car. Think about all the people who have died on their VERY FIRST PLANE RIDE - ever. Also, to help skew their stats, proponents of aviation also mention that commercial air travel is safer than automobile travel.

Notwithstanding the fact that they are comparing a COMMERCIAL transportation method to a private transportation method, there are a lot of differences that makes it more like comparing apples to oranges.

For instance, commmercial pilots must undergo rigorous training for a very long period of time. Private vehicles do not. Commercial pilots must receive continuous ongoing training and drivers of private vehicles do not.

I could go on and on about this forever. The bottom line being this. When you are in a commercial airline you have no control over your life. There is a man that you have never met, who you will probably NEVER meet that is making life and death decisions for YOU on a minute-by-minute basis. That right there is enough to keep me out of airplanes. Not to mention the fact that NO CAR has ever killed 150 people because it ran out of gas. No car has ever killed 150 people because it caught on fire. No car has ever killed 150 people because a tire came off.

Did you know that STATISTICALLY you have less than a 30 percent chance of survival if the airplane catches on fire ON THE GROUND? If an airplane catches on fire at 20,000 feet the chance of your survival plummets (pun intended) to less than .01 percent.

Those statistics are the ones that you never hear about from pro-airplane folks. But they matter to me. YMMV

20yrsinBranson
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
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Not to burst your statistical bubble, but if you took man hours travelled, flight would still be ahead.

If you have one plane of 120 people that travels two hours, that's 240 man hours.

Basically, regardless of what 20yrs says, there is virtually no risk of a plane crashing. As has been said, the odds of being hit by lightning or lottery winning is about the same.
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:23 PM
 
Location: The Raider Nation._ Our band kicks brass
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All of that ranting from a person that has such an intense phobia of flying that not only is she still trying to figure out a way to drive to Europe, she is also trying to talk everybody else out of flying.

The chances of a plane crashing are fifty/fifty. Either it will, or it won't.
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:46 PM
 
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20YearsinBranson - OK. You are giving me the stats on chances of survival if the plane goes up in flames, or on the ground...
20YearsinBranson, how about the chances of survival if a tractor trailer suddenly pulls into your lane and head-on crashes into you!!! How about your chances of survival if a fleeing bank robber T-bone your car at 60mph!!! How about your chances of survival if someone sideswipes you on a mountain road after coming out of nowhere and you plunge 150 feet down a ravine!!!You may want to cite statistics on scenarios of car crashes before you cite every possible scenario of a plane crashing.

Secondly, yes, the pilots are people you never met before. Guess what? You most likely never met the thousands of other maniac drivers on the road either.

Third, You say you have no control over the plane! Guess what, you have NO control of the other idiots on the road either.

Fourth, yes, no car has killed 150 people. But individual cars only kill roughly 40,000 people a year!!! How many people died on commercial jet airliners this year in the US? ZERO!

Yes, maybe comparing commercial jet airliners is difficult. However, mathematics is more of an exact science! After posting this, I found a 20/20 Investigation stating that the chances of a big commercial jet airliners crashing is 1 in 15 million. That's crashing! The investigation looked at the past ten years and the thousands and millions of flights that took place w/o crashing. The chances of dying. Remember, the crash in the Hudson River? The ONLY plane (big commercial airliners) that year. Everyone survived, even when it went into the WATER!!! That makes the chances of dying on such planes even more remote...Maybe as low as 1 in 35 million! (I would like to hear from other sources)

OK. Do you see my point? With 300 million people and 40,000+ automobile fatalities EACH YEAR...the answer is obvious to me. Yes, we drive a lot more, however, when we fly we fly thousands of miles (something to take into consideration) However, if I fly once a year and keep one driving everyday, I am still much more likely to get banged up in a car reck than die on a big plane.
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:09 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyyc View Post
Not to burst your statistical bubble, but if you took man hours travelled, flight would still be ahead.

If you have one plane of 120 people that travels two hours, that's 240 man hours.

Basically, regardless of what 20yrs says, there is virtually no risk of a plane crashing. As has been said, the odds of being hit by lightning or lottery winning is about the same.

I am not talking about man hours. We're not roofing a house. I'm talking about the amount of air time for each, individual person.

Even the most seasoned traveler rarely spends very little time in an airplane. I listen to talk show host Bruce Williams who logs a LOT of flight time and he says he flies about 100 hours a year. I would venture to say that Bruce drives more than that in a month. (And incidentally, he HAS been in a plane crash. Fortunately, for him, it was a small plane that he was piloting himself. Even so, he had life-threatening injuries and now has a permanent metal plate in his skull. But I digress).

The overwhelming majority of people who die in commercial plane crashes have very little flying time. 5 or 6 or 20 hours. Like I said. Some of them are there on their very first flight. Sure, you might fly for 30 or 40 years and never experience a crash, many people do. But just think about the people who had never been in a plane before.

There is another matter that I did not mention. And that is the fact that when you are in an automobile accident, usually, things happen very quickly. When you are at 20,000 feet and there is a fire in the fuselage or the passenger compartment loses pressure.... there is an awfully long time to think about dying before you actually do. Personally, I'd rather go quickly. YMMV

20yrsinBranson
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:24 PM
 
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20YEARSINBRANSON - Even when you take into consideration amount of time in the air, driving is still more dangerous. No one disputes that. The amount of driving that you do in a year is far more dangerous than one or two flights. That is not disputed. Secondly, the people that died on commercial airlines in their first flight. Yes, there are some. But perhaps you should also look at all of the 17 year old kids that die in car accidents as well. Yes, some people drive their whole lives without dying; however, if you are going to look at infrequent flyers that die, you should also look at beginner drivers that die as well. Third, what does Bruce Williams have to do with anything? He was in a small single-engine plane. Even I would not fly in one of those. I am just referring to the major jet airliners with two or four engines.

Finally, things in a car accident happen quickly?! Oh really?! Even heard of people dying at the hospital days later? If a plane crashes, the crash would at least be sudden. There may be time to think, but you will NOT be in pain that long most likely. Car crashes are a completely different story.

All I am saying is that if you are afraid to fly on a jet airliner, than you should be VERY afraid to drive a car.
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:46 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
38,729 posts, read 34,398,394 times
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Can't be done. The sample is too small. There is a very tiny number of plane crashes worldwide, and the technology of safety changes more rapidly than the entry of statistical elements into the crash sample. So there have been very few, or no, crashes within a time frame that would reflect current safety standards.

For example, planes used to crash because of ice on the wings. So they introduced de-icing technology, which changed the risk probability, but there was no way to estimate future risk from that point onward.

Similarly, what are the chances that this year, a student will take a gun to school and massacre other students? Well, it happens so rarely, that we have no data set within the time frame of current dynamics, and most of the last ten or 20 such incidents occurred under different circumstance from those now present..

Last edited by jtur88; 05-13-2011 at 05:15 PM..
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:47 PM
 
Location: Living near our Nation's Capitol since 2010
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20 Yrs in Branson, I understand your fear/mistrust of flying. You are certainly not alone. But bringing up things about flight hours, first time flyers dying, fires on the ground (not to mention in the air!)..realistically, the odds are vastly in your favor when you fly.

I have been flying for about 18 years. I work perhaps 4 flights a day when I work, 5 days a week. doing the math, that comes to almost 80,000 flights, not counting the flights I fly for fun (about 4 a month). Anyway, you might think I am lucky..but most of my friends have been flying at least as long and as often as I do. Talk about man hours!

Yes, all it takes is ONE bad flight. Or one bad car trip, or one bad train trip, or one bad bike trip...well, you get my drift. Yeah, sometimes bad things happen in life. Still, those of us who love to fly don't even think about the risk on a plane anymore than we worry about driving to the airport.

Really, if flying is that traumatic to you, its probably best you stay off airplanes. That is understandable. But in my opinion, flying is safe, quick and fun.
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