Aviation Safety

1. Relax! Major jets are hardly ever involved in crashes and the number declines each decade. Air travel is a function of Physics: not Hope or Prayers. Planes are tough! Turbulence has NEVER been proven to be the exclusive cause of any Jetliner crash according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Jet crashes make the news precisely because they are so rare- they are newsworthy. You are more likely to die in your car speeding to the airport to catch the plane than on the plane itself. Your car crash is not newsworthy and won't be reported on CNN (even though you would be just as dead).

2. Worry about the Right Things!

  • Get to the Airport early so that you won't be involved in a car crash. Repeat: Early!
  • Your plane may not crash but in an emergency you may have to exit in the dark or smoke so know where the exits are. COUNT the number of seats between you and the exits to the front and rear of you. Could you get out with your eyes closed?
  • You may laugh at the Flight Attendant showing you how to operate a seat belt but close your eyes and answer this question: Does my seat belt open by pulling from the right or by pulling from the left. Again, be prepared to do this in the dark or smoke.
  • Most jets of all types fly on instrumentation, but even pilots will tell you that they can see more in daylight than at night. So book your flights for earlier in the day if you fear Physics and Electronics.
  • On Takeoff, planes have to use their engines power to overcome Gravity. Landing a plane is a matter of allowing Gravity to overcome the plane's forward motion. Pilots are trained to land without engines at all (although this is not the recommended method). So if you are still scared of Physics, pray at Takeoff - not Landing (unless the pilot tells you otherwise).
  • Smaller planes crash a little more often than bigger planes due to the fact that they have less powerful engines and less experienced flight crews. So book most of your flights on bigger jets if you are that scared of Physics.
3. Terrorism. World-wide, about 1000 planes have been hijacked in aviation history, but fatalities have been avoided 85-percent of the time. It used to be that terrorists wanted to hijack a plane to ransom their hostages for some political gain, or to go to some "unscheduled destination.". After the Ethiopian Air and AirFrance incidents in Africa in the 1990's and the 11 September 2001 hijackings, that can no longer be the assumption.

Under the old assumption you wanted a window seat since the terrorists couldn't grab easily you to make an example out of you, particularly if you are military. Now that suicide seems to be the terrorists goal, military people should consider being in the aisle seats and/or Exit Rows to take care of any business that arises. The function of airport security is to keep bombs, grenades, and guns off of planes. Jerks trying to take over a plane with box cutters, fingernails clippers, or plastic knives are up to the passengers and flight attendants to deal with. Junior Enlisted should not wait for a superior's instructions to begin the counterattack since the Senior Officer Present may not see the events unfold at the start.
4. Home Alone. While you are away, your home and family are without your protection. No need to let the bad guys know where that home is. Use luggage tags that have a flap to cover them so they cannot be read without lifting the flap.
5. Identity Theft. Many military people travel with their Duffel Bags or Sea Bags. Unfortunately the military switched from using a service number to using your Social Security Number as your identifying Service Number back in the 1970's before Identity Theft was a crime to be worried about. If you have to have your SSN on your bag, use the following tip to provide some protection. Use three pieces of Duct Tape to cover the first five numbers of your SSN. The first piece covers the SSN and the two smaller pieces cross that piece at both ends (one to two inches from the end) so that someone cannot just peel the one piece back and look at your SSN. It should look like a dumbbell at the gym when done.

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