Missing Planes, Missing Kids and “Ask the Pilot”

“Flying frtdzdyiet
has gotten safer since the 1980s, but the headlines about the fewer disasters are bigger,” reader Stacey Gordon writes in a note to us, which included a link to Ask the Pilot. The salient part:

…Whatever caused the crash of flight 8501, the year appears to be closing on a tragic note. That’s a shame, seeing that 2013 was the safest year in the history of modern commercial aviation. Not to sound flip, but we can’t expect every year to be the safest, and it’s important to look at the broader context. This year will be something of a correction, but over the past ten or fifteen years the rate of fatal accidents, per miles flown, has been steadily falling. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) reports that for every million flights, the chance of a crash is one-sixth what it was in 1980, even with more than double the number of planes in the air.

Whenever people bring up the less-than-stellar accident record for 2014, I remind them of how bad things used to be. In 1985, 27 — twenty seven! — serious aviation accidents killed almost 2,500 people…. That was an unusually bad year for any era, but throughout the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, multiple major accidents were once the annual norm. Today, large-scale air disasters are much fewer and farther between. You almost wouldn’t know it, of course, switching on the TV: the media’s fixation and round-the-clock coverage of what, in times past, would have been only short-lived stories (or in some cases complete non-stories), messes with our perspective and gives many people the idea that air travel is a lot more dangerous than it actually is.

As Stacey points out: This parallels the coverage we see of kidnappings and crime. Violent crime this past year fell ANOTHER 4.4%. We should be dancing in the streets — and our kids should be playing in them (or at least in the parks). But as oft noted here, it is had to keep perspective when they sky (and everything in it) is constantly falling. 


11 Responses to Missing Planes, Missing Kids and “Ask the Pilot”

  1. dancing on thin ice January 4, 2015 at 10:32 am #

    Most news reports of the 7 year old Kentucky plane crash survivor focused on the stranger she sought help from instead of how capable she was. Her survival skills included lighting a stick on fire to find her way towards the man’s porch light.

  2. ChicagoDad January 4, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    @dancing, what an amazing kid. Many adults would not be able to think clearly and be as resourceful as she was in that situation. When I read the story about the crash last night, I thought it was a real testament to that child’s abilities and what 1st graders are capable of.

  3. Nadine January 4, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    She learned her skills from her father the article I read said. and in the one instance the media could have protected the child by not naming her or showing pictures they actually seem to have no problem with showing her everywhere. And the internet never forgets. So when she is 12, 18 or 80. This is the first thing people will know about her.

  4. Papilio January 4, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    @dancing: The fact that she rang some stranger’s doorbell reminded me of someone on this site who claimed ringing the doorbell without calling first is ‘unpolite’. Just imagine if that guy had been one of those…!

    @Nadine: Agreed!

  5. hineata January 5, 2015 at 5:05 am #

    What a remarkable kid…to have the nouse to make herself the torch, particularly. I do wonder though, at that age, whether any kid would sit around and wait to be rescued? Certainly among the five and six year olds I work with, the natural impulse is to go looking for help when something goes wrong. …not to sit around waiting for it to come to them.

    I think the seven year old they caught driving the highway in Oz taking his five year old brother to visit the grandparents is probably a better (though naughtier) example of what kids are capable of 😊

  6. Alexz Ross January 5, 2015 at 5:30 am #

    Too many plane crashed happened nowadays

  7. Scott Lazarowitz January 5, 2015 at 8:17 am #

    “Violent crime this past year fell ANOTHER 4.4%”

    That may or may not be correct. Police do not keep statistics on their own violence against civilians. They are not counting all the S.W.A.T. raids, the botched S.W.A.T. raids, and S.W.A.T. raids at the wrong addresses, and police shootings, tasering and murders of “suspects” and otherwise innocent civilians, such incidents of which have hugely increased over the past few years now.

  8. Jill January 5, 2015 at 8:34 am #

    It’s certainly good that the man whose isolated home the young plane crash survivor went to didn’t open fire on her, thinking she was an intruder.
    And to think that an older man (a stranger, yet!) had a little girl appear on his doorstep and he passed up the opportunity to molest her. Remarkable.

  9. Donna January 5, 2015 at 10:00 am #

    Hineata – I don’t know if my 9 year old would go for help. She is shy and I don’t know that she would ring a stranger’s bell. I certainly hope she would, but I am not positive.

  10. hineata January 5, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    @Donna – by that age she wouldn’t be the only one reluctant to knock on a stranger’s door. Kids are reasoning by 8 or 9. One would have to hope that shock would knock some of that shyness off.

  11. Bob Davis January 5, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

    I’m reminded of the captain of a commercial jet speaking to the passengers while waiting for an arrival gate to open. “On behalf of the crew and myself, I’d like to thank you all for choose Acme Airlines. I’d also like to remind you that you’re now about to enter the most dangerous part of your journey, traveling on the streets and highways of this city. Please remember to fasten your seat belts and drive defensively; we’d like to see you come aboard for another flight.”