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Why air travel is now even safer than ever.

By Becky Subscribe to RSS | January 24th 2012 | Views:
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Without wishing to tempt providence, it is interesting to reflect how much safer commercial air travel has become over the last quarter of a century. Anyone who was alive in the 1970s will surely have noticed how rare aircraft accidents have become in recent years. Barring terrorist outrages, it seems that fatal incidents, particularly in Europe, have been reduced to a trickle. In fact, many newer airlines like Virgin have never suffered any major accidents at all. What is even more remarkable is that this huge progress has been achieved during a period of unprecedented growth in passenger numbers and aircraft movements.

It seems light years away from the 1970s when the West was stricken by 3 dreadful crashes involving some 1,200 passengers and crew. In 1974, 346 souls, mainly British, were lost when a Turkish Airlines DC-10 crashed near Paris following a detached cargo door. Then, in 1977 came the terrible disaster when 2 jumbo jets collided on the tarmac at Tenerife airport with 583 casualties, the highest toll of any aircraft accident in history. Finally, in 1979, mechanical failure on another DC-10 was responsible for the USA’s worst single aircraft death toll when 273 perished near Chicago’s O ‘Hare airport.

Two factors have probably contributed the most to the remarkable record of aircraft safety in developed countries subsequent to that torrid decade. First, there have been tremendous advances in technology since with sophisticated computerisation and sensors removing much of the human fallibility associated with past accidents. Rolls-Royce, for example, can monitor every single engine they have in service in real time and can detect minor problems before they develop into major ones.

Secondly, the bank of information built up by accident investigators and exchanged between the major aviation regulatory bodies such as the FAA in the USA and the CAA in the UK leads to progressively safer procedures and adjustments in aircraft design.

As the CAA adjusts for the future, they need to recruit and retain the right people and provide a culture which inspires and rewards high performance. To drive continuous improvement of aviation safety and effectiveness, they are committed to the development of the people they employ.

Becky - About Author:
If you’re looking for a career in aviation then have a look at Aviation Vacancies

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