Just in case you haven’t been paying attention to the news lately, you should know that Airbus has had some difficulty flying and landing their planes in stormy weather. Two notably large and deadly crashes have occurred in the past couple of months. The incredible thing about the most recent crash however, was that a teenage child survived! A Yemenia Airways Airbus A310 tried to land at
How does anyone survive a plane crash? If you’re like me and you listen to the emergency instructions before takeoff, a small voice in your head is telling you, “It won’t matter if you wear a seatbelt if you’re plunging into the ocean from 30,000 feet at 700mph.” Well, perhaps it does…
Before this particular crash, there have been 12 separate incidents recorded since 1970 where commercial planes met their disastrous end with one sole survivor making it through. 5 of those 12 were children and another 4 were crew members. Having been a child who recovered from countless playground injuries, I think the flexibility and resilience of children helps enormously, and crew members with 4-point harnesses have an added safety advantage, but what about your seat location?
Aviation expert John Eakin, head of Air Data Research doesn’t think so. “I just don’t think there’s any pattern to survivability. It’s just luck of the draw and depends on how the plane goes in. I don’t think there’s any particular type of aircraft or position in an aircraft which is more survivable, because it pretty much depends on what type of accident, and on how the aircraft impacts,” he said.
A 2007 Popular Mechanics magazine article, researched and written by David Noland, disagrees. Having analyzed several crashes that had survivors, Noland defends the position that seats in the rear of the aircraft are safer. He says, “Passengers near the tail of a plane are about 40 percent more likely to survive a crash than those in the first few rows up front.” I agree with Noland’s thoughts that when something big, traveling very fast, hits an immovable object (like the ground, the ocean, a mountain, etc) it’s the front of the object that takes the brunt of the damage. That’s just common sense, and it’s probably why they put the data recorders in the rear of the plane.
As for me personally, I will continue to upgrade to first class, every chance I get! The safety record for commercial aviation is so “off the chart” good and the chances of a crash are so darn miniscule, that I don’t even worry about it. Besides, if disaster does come, I’d rather face it comfortably, with some whiskey in one hand and a balled up fist of defiance in the other!
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