What An Empty Ship


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Alicia Coors

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statistically, flying is still the safest method of transportation
No, it really isn't. The injury/death statistics of traveling by automobile include all the accidents that happen TO drunks, and all the injuries and fatalities that happen TO people too proud or vain (read: stupid) to wear seat belts.

Factoring in these variables that the occupants can control, riding in an automobile is the safest form of transportation per person-mile, except walking.
 
Jun 11, 2000
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I don't have these, but the fact that the death rates are usually per person miles travelled brings a problem with the stats. With a plane, once you're up in the air, apart from sabotage or mechanical failure not much can possibly happen. Because planes go fastest and longest, they seem very safe according to the usual calculations. If you do the stats differently - using the first and last three miles (takeoff and landing) it doesn't seem so rosy. They use other methods too - like failure rate per aircraft, which is why Concorde (one failure in 25 years in a tiny fleet) suddenly looked so bad after one crash. Failure rate per airline might be more useful ... some wouldn't look too good at all.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Just goes to show that stats can be manipulated to "prove" just about anything you want. Personally, I prefer to look at the whole of the picture.
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I see someone above mentioned the Comet. My friend's father worked at the National Physical Laboratory (he's in his late 80's now) on the Comet in the 1950s. I remember him telling me about metal fatigue later - they knew all about it before - and they did find some evidence of it, as indeed you can in all planes, so he said. But he said the reason for the Comet failure was the shape of the windows - they were squarish, not oval, and they popped out in flight, and the 'metal fatigue' at the corners was irrelevant - it was the shape.
 
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Alicia Coors

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monica, are you (or your friend's father) saying that a window popping out will cause an airliner to break up? I'd like to see that documented somewhere.

Michael, the "average" survival of automobile riders is a composite of everyone, which includes people who do stupid things. So comparing automobile safety with airplane safety is fallacious to begin with, because airplane riders aren't in control.
 
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Yes and no. The metal fatigue radiated upwards from the square window corners, so my description of 'popping out' was inaccurate; it did rather more after it popped. But what he was saying was that the fatigue was caused by the shape - no corners, no fatigue. With round windows the plane was perfectly safe - but people had got the idea that the thing was riddled with fatigue and lost confidence in it, even after the windows were changed. Here's a bit about it.
http://plane-truth.com/comet.htm
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>So comparing automobile safety with airplane safety is fallacious to begin with, because airplane riders aren't in control.<<

No it isn't. The issue is not who's in control, but which mode of transport is the safest per passenger miles traveled. If you have valid scientific data which supports your claim that cars are safer then aircraft, I'd be as interested in seeing it as anyone else.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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I must agree with Michael on this issue with one point of clarification. Commercial airline travel has a very low rate of fatalities per mile. General aviation is not as safe. I don't have the stats available, but if I remember correctly, general aviation would be similar to automobile travel stats on a per mile basis.
 
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Alicia Coors

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Michael, with all due respect, the only issue that matters is what are the odds I will be injured or killed? And the answer is: in an automobile that I am driving, my odds of survival are greater than in a commercial aircraft, because I don't drink and drive, and I always wear a 3-point harness.

Any statistical claim based on "averages" is sophistry.
 

Jack Devine

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"what are the odds...?" Well, the odds are certainly much higher if you're going to be in an accident, and the chances of that happening while in an auto are much higher than while in an aircraft. Commercial aircraft are maintained far better than any auto, which helps explain why aircraft will typically last for decades. Also, your control of your auto gives you a limited degree of safety, as you're sharing the road with every fool in the area who managed to stay sober long enough to pass their license exam thirty years ago. Pilots face a far more rigorous training and exam regimen, including annual physicals. If we regulated autos like we do aviation, I would have a perfect 1972 Chevrolet in my driveway, but my eyeglass prescription would keep me from driving it.

No question, you are fully correct that your odds of survival are greater in an auto accident compared to an aircraft accident, but that ignores the vastly greater incidence of auto accidents.
 
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Alicia Coors

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What do you call someone who got 70% on the Private Written?

"A Licensed Pilot."
 
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I know that statistically flying is safer, but I still think I will have a chance of walking away from a car crash nowadays, unlike a plane crash.

A tire blow out when entering a highway will cause you to pull over. A tire Blow out brought down the Concorde.....
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Jack Devine

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Heh heh, absolutely right. Of course, while commuting on the Interstate, you can routinely see people reading the newspaper, eating & drinking, applying makeup, chatting on the phone, and (tops on my personal list of horrors) watching porn on the in-dash DVD player, all at 70mph. If you're not frightened, you probably aren't paying attention!
 
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>>Michael, with all due respect, the only issue that matters is what are the odds I will be injured or killed? <<

No it isn't. The question asked was which mode is the safest per passenger miles traveled. Not who's in control, and not how anyone can creatively cook the books with some of the numbers. I've asked for scientifically valid data to support the claim you made, and I'm sure you're well aware of the difference between peer-reviewed studies from impartial sources which would have such information as opposed to various outfits with an agenda.

It's the peer-reviewed scientific data which I'm interested in, not the activist spin-meistering.

If you have it, present it.

>>No question, you are fully correct that your odds of survival are greater in an auto accident compared to an aircraft accident, but that ignores the vastly greater incidence of auto accidents.<<

Bingo! Good point, Jack.
 
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Alicia Coors

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If you take the number of fatality/passenger-miles and divide it by the number of people, you get a ratio. In the case of vehicular accidents, that ratio lumps everyone in with people who drive drunk and don't wear seat belts.

That's like quoting the "odds" of contracting lung cancer by dividing the population by the number of cases, disregarding who smokes and who doesn't.

I define activist spin-meistering as manipulation of the facts to achieve some political goal. There is no goal here, merely illumination of the old "flying is safest" canard for what it is.
 
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>>If you take the number of fatality/passenger-miles and divide it by the number of people, you get a ratio. In the case of vehicular accidents, that ratio lumps everyone in with people who drive drunk and don't wear seat belts. <<

Indeed they do, all of which are the risk factors which go along with the deal...and not just with autos either.

Now, can you answer the question I posed or not? No harm no foul if you can't. Since this thread is supposed to be over the Titanic being undersold, we can just get back to that.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Alicia: Look at the stats. For year 2000, 41,800 people killed in autos in the US. Of all accidents involving fatalities with occupants wearing restraints, 27% didn't make it. Of all accidents involving fatalities with occupants NOT wearing restraints, 57% didn't make it. You may think you have things under control when driving, but the truth is that there is a lot more that you have no control over than you may think.

As the tag frame of my vehicle says, "I'd rather be flying"

By the way, passing the written does not make you a licensed private pilot.
 
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Humph. This is going on because you're all talking fatalities per passenger mile, and as I said previously, this is a distorting sort of statistic. I've recently seen some stats per passenger hour, and some which remove all but the first and last three miles of air travel, and it does make a big difference to the ranking. Basically though, don't buy a motorbike, and be very careful when you're walking - it's nothing like as safe as you thought. And whatever you do - don't fly round happy-go-lucky countries on internal airlines.... reminds me of McKenzie Airlines at Miami in the 1970s. Young guy greeted us, in what looked like a broom cupboard, and took our baggage courteously and checked our tickets for the Bahamas. "It's a British plane," he remarked reassuringly as he led us across the tarmac, changing into his smart Captain's jacket and cap as we went. It was a 1940s Heron. He then had a loud quarrel with his co-pilot (!) about who'd last bought fuel, and did they have any money left, and who'd got the map? It was the most blissful flight I've ever had. Waggling wings at fishing boats they knew, swooping down low to watch dolphins etc. I don't think the guy by the door enjoyed it so much as he'd been detailed to make sure the string didn't come undone ... and you think I'm joking?
 
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>>What do you call someone who got 70% on the Private Written?

"A Licensed Pilot."<<

Alicia, if you believe that, then you had better check the current standards in the FAR/AIM manual as this pretty thoroughly puts the lie to that one. There's way more to it them just passing the written tests. There's the matter of required flying time which includes night time flying, cross country navigation, flights which are both accompaned and solo, and after all of that, you have to do a check ride with an FAA inspector...once you've not only passed the written, but also have the endorsements from your CFI certifying that you actually know what your doing. You won't get that checkride without going through all of that. This is far from easy and it's not uncommon for people to have to do that "last" checkride multiple times befor the inspector green lights the thing.
 
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