Monday 16 September 2019


If you click your mouse on the underlined words, you will get more information.

Almost half of all flight accidents occur during the final approach and landing stages. These are also the most devastating accidents.

In 2013, my wife and I along with our two daughters, five grandchildren and a friend of one of my daughters went on a vacation for a week on the Disney cruise ship in Florida. On the flight home to Canada, our plane made a stopover at the Atlanta Airport.  As the pilot lowered the plane on the runway, instead of the landing gear  lowering the forward wheels first on the tarmac, the engine at the rear of the plane hit the tarmac first with a big bang.  It then caught fire.

As the plane headed towards the terminal, the captain made the following announcement. “I want you to get into the aisle and don’t take your luggage with you as we will bring your luggage to you after you are in the terminal.”

At first, everyone was calm but that soon changed when he said in a loud voice.  “QUICKLY! GET OUT OF THE PLANE!” Now we all knew that something was terribly wrong.

 My wife was standing in the aisle and heard me say. “I can’t unbuckle my seatbelt. I broke my right arm years ago and as a result, I couldn’t move it backwards to unbuckle my seat belt. My wife leaned towards me to unbuckle my seat belt but she was swept away by the onrush of passengers trying to flee from the plane. Soon I was the only person in the plane while  suffering from suffocating smoke and was about to shit in my pants out of fear of being burned alive.  Was I was really frightened? Is the Pope really Catholic? The answers are the same.

A couple of minutes later after it was determined that someone was missing, a heavyset stewardess ran into the plane, unbuckled me and half dragged me out of the plane and into the terminal.   

Years earlier. when I was taken for a ride in a two-seater WW2 fighter plane, I  nearly fell out of the plane when the pilot made a deep turn since I  couldn’t be buckled in. 

Did theses experiences cause me to fear flying?  No they didn’t. I am more afraid of spiders than I am of flying in a plane.  I am also aware of the well-known fact that being in a car is far more dangerous that flying in a plane.  I have flown in many planes in Canada, the United States, Central America, South America. Hawaii and many times in the Near East and the Far East and in Europe.

In 1983, two pilots miraculously landed a jumbo jet with no fuel from 40,000 feet.  Luckily, the pilot and co-pilot were better at the flying part of the job than calculating the math part of the job. They miscalculated the amount of fuel needed for the flight and eventually flew the plane with no fuel. As the New York Times reported a week after the incident, the pilot had ten years of glider training under his belt, and his co-pilot had trained at the Gimli airport during his days with the Canadian Air Force. For this reason he  knew the surroundings quite well. Together, the pair were able to land the 767  by gliding the last 60 miles (100 km) touching down just an hour or so before nightfall. The plane  the Gimli Glider, as it’d henceforth be known  suffered some damage to its nose and blew out some tires but the passengers were pretty much okay. Ten people suffered minor injuries but, miraculously, there were no fatalities.

Many of my readers will look at facts about plane crashes and yet they still believe that flying to be unsafe, despite the fact that only one plane in 5 million planes in the air actually crashes.

Try to start analyzing risk in everything you do. There is a risk when you cross the road, walk up or down the stairs, drive or ride in a car. I am more afraid of riding in a car than being a passenger  in a plane. Why does flying seem like more of a risk than any of these things? I was far more at risk climbing up that killer mountain, the Matterhorn in Switzerland than putting my life in the hands of pilots flying jumbo passenger planes.

It is quite rare for an accident to be explained by one single cause. Almost every mishap is the consequence of a chain of events and accident reports usually discriminate between the main cause and a number of contributing factors

These factors are less likely when it comes to modern aircraft. The main root cause is human error. In order to try and eliminate this as a source of accidents, crews are requested to follow a strict training routine.  Further before a plane takes off. the pilots go through a check list to make sure that everything is ready for takeoff.

Only good airport security measures and widespread vigilance can protect planes from aeronautical terrorism (bombing and hijacking). However, aircraft are very vulnerable to such attacks, because they are defenseless unless an air marshal disguised as a  passenger is on board the plane.  Cargo bay containers are bomb-proof, but not aircraft, as it would make them too heavy to fly.

Thanks to the many measures which have been implemented in a bid to prevent such attacks, the number of terrorism acts has dropped with time. When it comes to terrorism fatalities, however, there can be no feeling of security. New aircraft carrying a lot of people may become targets of choice for terrorists, which could lead to extremely deadly attacks in future flights if steps are not taken to ensure that everyone on board a passenger plane has been thoroughly checked for weapons and explosives.

Alas there is one kind of event that cannot be stopped. I am referring to rockets being fired from the ground.  There have been a small number of such events occurring when passenger planes were blown out of the sky. Further I know of two events when bombs in luggage destroyed two planes that were flying in the air. 

Because a terrorist had explosives in his shoes, the shoes of passengers are examined by a hand-held sniffer gadget that will detect explosives. In fact, when my wife and I flew to Cuba and back to Canada, security guards waved the sniffer gadgets all over our bodies and shoes.

Here is irony for you to ponder. The terrorists in the 9\11  terrorist act,  flashed box cutters as weapons. Had the passengers attacked the terrorists in the two planes that smashed into the twin towers, it is conceivable that the planes might not have smashed into the twin towers.  The passengers attacked the box cutter terrorists in the third plane but it was too late to save them as the plane was already diving towards the ground. Several years ago, the passengers attacked the terrorist holding  them at bay and beat him to death, thus saving themselves and their fellow passengers.

I would be less than honest if I said that every flight will go perfectly. However, the odds of A plane crash Are 1 in 11 Million. Your odds of dying in a car crash, over the span of your entire life, are somewhere in between 1 and 50.You are safer in a plane.

And now I will finish this article that is both sad and funny.

Years ago, a man was about to get on board a passenger plane. Suddenly be was told that he couldn’t board the plane because a US senator was going to take his place in the plane. The senator said to the bumped passenger, “Someday if you are a senator, you too can bump a passenger off the plane. It is one of the advantages of having a high position in society.”

Twenty minutes later. he heard an explosion in the sky above him. The plane that  he was to be on was spiraling in flames down  to the ground.

To say that fate is unpredictable is an understatement

No comments: