Common Myths About Flying

Everyone probably already knows that air travel is the safest way to get around. For those afraid of flying though, statistics are generally of no help. Hopefully after reading this article, you’ll have a better understanding of some common dangerous flying myths and how to overcome them.

Statistics

First, let’s start off with some air travel safety statistics. A study conducted in 1975 through 1994 shed some light on how safe air travel actually is. The odds of being in a fatal plane crash are about 1 in seven million. That means that if seven million people were picked randomly around the globe, only one of them would die in a fatal plane crash. Secondly, it’s also probably worth noting that if you were to fly on at least one flight every day of your life, it would take approximately nineteen thousand years for you to die in a plane crash. That’s more lifetimes than most people can count.

Lukla, Nepal 4/90
Lukla Nepal, not all runways are flat …

Still not convinced? How about we compare driving statistics to flying stats. Every year over 45,000 people die in car crashes. That’s about 150 people killed every single day because of wreckless driving. To give you an idea of how many plane crashes that is, a Boeing 727 full of people would have to crash every single day of the year and kill its entire passenger load to match the number of driving deaths there are each year.

According to the study conducted, you are approximately 20 times safer in an aircraft than you are in an automobile.

Turbulence

When people fly, one of the most common fears they have is rough air. When turbulence strikes, many often feel as though the plane is falling out of the sky. In all of recorded history of air travel, not once has a plane every crashed because of turbulence or rough air. While it may be uncomfortable, rough air isn’t enough to make a plane fall out of the sky.

Control

Another common fear that people have is that while cars may be more unsafe than planes, in a vehicle people are more in control of their fate. In an aircraft, it’s generally two or three strangers at the helm who are controlling the fate of everyone on board. While it may not mean much to say it, in many cases the pilots in the cockpit are only there as a safety measure. Modern aircraft are capable of flying themselves from takeoff to landing. The computers within aircraft are so sophisticated that they are able to make perfect takeoffs and landings without any help from a pilot. That means if the pilots pass out or are unable to control the plane, the aircraft will automatically take the safety precautions necessary to land itself safely on the ground.

To recap, you are almost 20 times safer in an aircraft than in a car. And who doesn’t drive? About 3 deaths occur for every 10 billion miles travelled in the air. That’s a long way.

Azores Archipelago in Portugal

The Azores archipelago consists of nine islands in the mid Atlantic, located just less than two hours flying time from Lisbon, on mainland Portugal. With a total area of 2335 square kilometres literally every one of these islands have the most fantastic fishing potential imaginable even though being the most underdeveloped potential in the modern fishing world.

azores 9 islands in the Atlantic
Photo (c) Chris Veers via flickr.com

The volcanic structure of the archipelago has created the high inland lakes, the extinct craters and those ominous looking volcanic cones that are now so verdantly green. The climate creates this luxurious undergrowth of vegetation and riot of wild flowers, tempered by the islands’ position on the latitude, and the regulating influence of the Gulfstream. The mean air temperature for the year is 17C, with a maximum of 21C, and a minimum of 14C.

The atmosphere, free from pollution, allows the amateur and professional photographer to snap away merrily. Tones are enhanced by the ever changing clouds, and the rays of the sun change Pico especially, from a bland silhouette to a plaster moulding of prehistoric times. Many of the high pressure weather systems start here, known as the Azores anticyclone belt. The wind, considering it has the entire north Atlantic to race over unhindered, is only some 12.2km per hour.

Ideal for the sailing enthusiast, (the islands are used as provisioning points by trans-Atlantic sailors) and ideal, of course, for fishing. The weather changes very quickly. It can rain and blow in the morning, then be still with a clear blue sky in the evenings. The combination of these natural conditions allows a prolific growth of vegetation, which, as well as interesting native species that are elsewhere extinct, includes various exotic plants and trees from all over the world. Game is still abundant. Buzzards, that gave the islands their name, still visit the islands. Livestock breeding is now one of the mainstays of the islanders, which together with the agriculture, wines and other industries makes tourism a joy.

Unspoiled by pollution, and undamaged by the commercialism of the rest of Europe, these islands really are one of the few places left in the world where you can get away from it all. According to the recent census there is a resident population of 287,000. Many years ago the Nova Scotia whaling boats would stop in the Azores to take on men, as the locals were among the finest and most fearless whalers of the day, with a reputation for reliability that preceded them worldwide. Looking at the islands separately they all have something unique to commend them.