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How Safe Is Our Sky? Essay

1575 words - 7 pages

Recent aviation incidents such as the crash of Asiana Airlines flight 214 and disappearance of MH370 cause people to wonder if aviation is still safe. Some say that the taxi ride to the airport is more dangerous than the flight; however, others fear the dangers flying may bring. Although pilot error, pilot fatigue, and mechanical failures contribute to the danger of aviation, new aircraft systems and improved safety measures continue to sustain the high standards of the safety of aviation. Some judge that aviation is dangerous based on tragic incidents; on the other hand, the improvement of technology and the dedication of organizations continue to ensure the safety of aviation.
On July 6, 2013, Asiana Airlines flight 214 crash landed just short of the threshold of San Francisco International Airport’s runway 28L. Flight 214’s tail struck the seawall in front of the runway. The aircraft then spun around, breaking into sections of flame. Such a dramatic crash resulted in 200 passengers with injuries and three deaths among the 288 passengers and 16 crew members on board the fatal flight (Jansen). Less than a year later, the disappearance of M370 alarms the nation of Malaysia and many other countries. These recent, unfortunate occurrences cause many to question the safety of aviation, and further information supports the fear of these individuals.
Pilot error contributes to many aviation commotions. For example, one of All Nippon Airways’ Boeing 737-700 jetliners terrified its passengers when it almost flipped over in mid-air. While trying to unlock the cockpit door, the co-pilot of this flight mistook the rudder trimmer for the "unlock" switch. Deflecting the rudder to the left, the pilot caused the plane to roll 130 degrees (Japan’s All Nipon Airways). The crash landing at San Francisco gives a recent illustration of a catastrophic pilot error. After their investigations on Asiana Airlines flight 214, the National Transport Safety Board, NTSB, concluded that the Boeing 777 crashed due to pilot error performed by an inexperienced pilot. Although the pilot landing the plane, Lee Gang Guk, had around 10,000 hours of flying experience with other jets, he had only spent 33 hours in the Boeing 777 and landed at San Francisco for the first time (Jansen). Whether it is mistaking a knob for another or inexperience of an aircraft, pilot errors usually result in terror, injuries, fatalities, or all of the above; however, the FAA, NTSB, and other aviation organizations continuously strive to make flying safer.
Pilot fatigue also contributes to accidents and terror in the skies. Any flight with a tired pilot in the cockpit is endangered. In 2009, JetBlue’s pilot, Clayton Osbon, suffered a brief psychotic disorder due to lack of sleep. Forensic neuropsychologist Robert E.H. Johnson insisted that Osbon’s brief psychotic disorder was directly related to sleep deprivation (Blaney). The article concludes, saying that the FAA will put a new rule to regulation....

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