Understanding Air Safety in the Jet Age

A U.S. Air Force firefighter sprays water at the fire of a simulated C-130 Hercules plane crash during operational readiness exercise Beverly.jpg

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Understanding Air Safety in the Jet Age

Civilian airliners rarely crash, but when they do it is big news and leads to serious questions about the safety of flying. Is flying really the safest form of travel? It depends how "safety" is measured. To understand the risk, and make decisions, it's helpful to understand how incidents and accidents occur, and the factors that add to your chances of avoiding or surviving an incident.

This book examines the history of civilian air safety since the beginning of the jet age. The first commercial civilian jet airliner was the de Haviland Comet. It first flew in prototype form in 1949 with the first production aircraft flying on 9 January 1951. The first flight with paying passengers, Comet registration G-ALYS, took off on 2 May 1952. The first accident happened less than a year later on 3 March 1953. A Comet 1A, registration CF-CUN, failed to take off on a delivery flight and crashed killing all 11 people on board. It was the beginning of a grim toll of incidents and accidents that continues to this day. However, all is not "doom and gloom". By making sensible choices, you affect the odds of being involved in an incident, and your chances of surviving it. Also, knowing what to expect in an accident and planning what to do if it happens will help.

Part 1: Introduction edit

Part 2: Mechanical Failure edit

Part 3: Design Failure edit

Part 4: Human Factors edit

Part 5: Acts of God? edit

Part 6: Surviving Disaster edit

Information for Contributors edit

This book is dual licensed under the GFDL and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.