Flying and crashing

Why is it whenever I’m about to go somewhere where I’ll be flying, the day before I leave I typically see a show on airline crashes. Either that or I’ll be flying through an airport that just had some horrible crash happen there.

For instance, tonight I’m headed for Phoenix for an extended weekend. No big deal and nothing I’m too worked up about. Or at least I wasn’t until I snapped on the Discovery channel last night. Sure enough, one full hour on the topic of airline crashes. Even worse still, unexplained crashes. The NTSB has no clue what caused the two separate crashes of the 757’s in question, but believe it was the result of some unexplained full rudder ‘anomaly’. Anomaly? The thing plunged straight into the ground. I’d call it a disaster, not an anomaly. And I’d like to know an answer to the crash, seeing as that’s the plane I’m flying on tonight.

Despite their best efforts, they can’t determine the exact cause. But they’ve been trying. They even re-enacted the damn thing on a flight simulator, complete with cockpit crashing sounds, fer Chrissakes, trying to find a cause. Great, I really didn’t need to see the instructor saying, “Wow, look at how smooth it was going and then, bam, completely out of control. The ground just takes up the whole window, see? look!”

Sheesh. Don’t these people at the networks know there scaring the hell out of the flying public? And you really don’t need to re-air this thing every weekend people.

One of these days I swear I’ll be on a plane and look up at the in-flight movie and see airline crash footage, ala the ‘Airplane!’ movie.

I’d also tell you about the time I flew through Chicago the day after the plane that couldn’t lift off plowed into the freeway at the end of the runway. Or the time I flew to Seattle right after the plane I was about to board was found to have undetermined hair-line cracks in the engine mounts. But that’ll be another thread.

Man 'o man. Am I the only one that this seems to happen to?

Dude. Chill.

The reason airplane accidents get publicized so heavily is that they are comparitively rare. If we had any brains at all we would all feel the way you do every time we stepped in our cars. Might scare us into being more careful drivers.

From what I understand, many people dislike flying not because of fear of crashing necessarily, but because they have no control of the situation. Even the fact that airline seats face the side means we can’t even see where we are going. But since they aren’t likely to let us all sit in the cockpit, get used to it.

If we really want to complain about air travel let’s talk about the the swamped scheduling system and resultant delays.

I’m chill- I’m cool.

I’m about to have a few drinks in an hour or two anyways, so they’ll be calling me ’Cold Chillin’ in effect Cnote’ by the time I board. No problems on my end.

Besides, my point isn’t to bitch, it’s to find out whether or not other people here have had this same phenomenon happen to them. You know, you’re about to fly and the day before you leave you either watch some horrible show about airline crashes on t.v. that involves the plane your about to fly on or you’re about to board a plane that just happens to go through an airport where a crash just took place.

That’s all. The idea that the timing is all just wrong.

Oh, and that point about it somehow being better flying in the cockpit?

Forget about it. When my college roommate (He was training to be a pilot at the time) and I decided we should fly a little two seat Cesna to a nearby casino for a day of fun, the day before we left one of the students at the airport he trained at lost control of his two-seater Cesna and fell out of the sky into a hangar. As Bill and I took off, I looked over to my right and saw the blackened hole in the hangar’s roof where the little Cesna had punched through -killing the pilot and a bystander on the ground.

That didn’t make my flight too much fun.

I knew a ticket clerk for TWA who took a phone call for a flight to Florida. The passenger asked if there were any seats available. She said that there was TWA flight 5050. There was total silence on the other end of the phone until the passenger said “I normally don’t take anything less than 60-40”
I don’t know what this has to do with the thread (or whether its true), but it always makes me smile.

That’s why I’m taking the bus if I go to see racinchikki. (Well, that, and the fact that it would cost 4 times as much to drive myself)

“Scaring the Hell out of the flying public” = ratings = advertising dollars.

Witness roller coasters, slasher movies, local news coverage of the Firestone fiasco and your proclivity for watching airplane disaster shows.

Yes, but when you crash a car, you usually don’t fall THIRTY THOUSAND FEET! :eek: Car wrecks are statistically a bit more surviveable, even it they do happen 1,000,000 times more often.

FWIW, Those were 737’s with the rudder problems and as the show reported after years of investigation a failure mode of the rudder controls was found, and corrections have been made.

Oh yea. All I could remember was the 7something7 part.

While I can forget that part pretty easily, I can’t forget that damn simulator visual. It’s etched in my mind. And talk about creepy. They plug in all the data of the doomed airliner into a flight simulator and let it run through the last moments of the flight.

That part really gave me the willies. Especially watching it head straight into the ground.

Oh well. T-minus five hours and counting. I wonder what’s on t.v. now? ‘TWA flight 500- How long did the passengers survive in an unmanned, out-of-control, fuselage? Tune in next to find out!!’


OK, this attitude bugs me because it disregards some basic realities of probability and physics.

  1. It doesn’t matter whether you are falling a distance of 30,000 feet or 6 inches. If you are travelling above 30 mph or so at the time of a fall (or straight ahead impact), you are likely to get hurt.

  2. Being that we are usually going fast enough in a car to get killed pretty darn efficiently, we may as well go faster, ie: take a plane.


  1. If you simply don’t LIKE flying, then don’t. Makes things easier on the rest of us. Please don’t get on the plane and then act like a baby. My father does this, and I find it inexcusable. I hate roller coasters and consider them unsafe. So guess what? I don’t go on them!!!

  2. As you say, car crashes happen with much greater frequency. Add to that the fact that we spend more time in them than in planes. This was my original point - we should be much more careful of cars than we are.

  3. I’m a private pilot. Got my license last year. Word from the old pilots around my airport is that, sure, accidents happen sometimes. Pilots are human and prone to error. But…

Private pilots are pretty well trained. Professional pilots are exceptionally well trained. Beyond these and many other issues of safety, I’ll add this:

There are fewer idiots in the skies, both by volume and percentage. But as I say, if you don’t want to fly, please don’t. I’m tired of hearing people complain about it unrealistically. Sorry if that’s nasty, but there it is.

I was on a flight to Hawaii when we experienced “mechanical failure” and dropped about 10,000 feet suddenly. I was upset that they couldn’t bring out the drink cart for safety reasons, but I survived. I still fly, even long distances, even over oceans. You haven’t lived til you’re dumping fuel and barreling back to San Francisco in order to make an emergency landing. Now driving…that really scares me.

Hell, I wouldn’t wait for them to bring out the booze cart, I’d go find the damn thing and take it over by force, if I had to.

Off I go!

Grok, every commercial plane I’ve ever flown in had seats that faced forward. A few seats on the emergency egress rows faced backward. Never saw any that faced sideways.

Unless one is wearing a parachute (and I don’t know of any commercial airlines that offer them to passengers), one is damned unlikely to be doing 30mph from a fall of 30,000ft.

Hitting the ground at 30mph might (but does not necessarily) result in serious bruises, even broken bones.

Hitting the ground at terminal velocity will usually (but not always) result in death.

Hitting the ground at 600mph will result in carbonized strawberry jam. Guaranteed.

Grok, your attitude-filled defensiveness over others’ apprehensions of airflight safety is excessive. So what if people get anxious about the prospect of a horrible death–remote as that might be? I scuba-dive, yet I’m generally averse to diving among sharks, despite my awareness of the unlikelihood of shark-attack fatalities. As unlikely as a shark-attack is, it would be a horrible way to go.
And no matter how aware I am of my relative safety, it doesn’t reduce my horror when I hear of someone killed by a shark.

Chill yourself.

Well, I remeber that my senior year in high school (last year) we had a freak occurace. We had a week long break in April, and there was a class trip to Italy (which I went on) and one to France (which a few of my friends went on.)
About a week before we left (we both went on the same day out of Boston) the movie Final Destination came out.
In the movie, a class trip, to France, goes bad when the plance blows up.
That’s a little unnerving. But the really freaky part was that the name of the school in the movie is the same as the name of my high school. Needles to say the people going on the trip felt that was all a wee bit too coincidental.

Enough with the visuals people! That’s what I’m trying to avoid.

Now that’s more like it. I want to hear stories that are just a tad too eery. Things that make you go, ‘Oooo. Now’s that’s not a good omen’.

Same name as your school, huh? Heh, heh heh.

Yep. I’d say that’s bad.

Cnote, darling, this is just what I need to be thinking about mere days before I fly off to LA. I have an image of my plane plummeting into the Pacific now. Thank you soooo much for starting this thread.


Just kidding ya, Chris. Have a good time in Phoenix.

You know, I’ve got some Brian McKnight songs playing right now. Have you ever seen the video for the song “Back at One”? Yikes.

I read somewhere (I don’t have a cite, but I may have mentioned it in another thread) that you are eight times more likely to be in a car accident than an aircraft accident, but you are eight times more likely to suffer fatal injuries in an aircraft accident than a car accident. FWIW, someone asked about putting parachutes on aircraft (called “total recovery systems” or something like that) in another thread. I went to the AOPA site and pulled the Nall report, which showed that IIRC only about 19% of aircraft crashes result in a fatality.

Also in another thread was discussion about issuing parachutes to passengers. To make a long story short, “bad idea”. (You can probably find the above-mentioned threads by searching on “parachutes”, but I didn’t do it because I have a movie to get back to.)

“When the final news came, there would be a ring at the front door – a wife in this situation finds herself staring at the front door as if she no longer owns it or controls it–and outside the door would be a man… come to inform her that unfortunately something has happened out there, and her husband’s body now lies incinerated in the swamps or the pines or the palmetto grass, “burned beyond recognition,” which anyone who had been around an air base very long (fortunately Jane had not) realized was quite an artful euphemism to describe a human body that now looked like an enormous fowl that has burned up in a stove, burned a blackish brown all over, greasy and blistered, fried, in a word, with not only the entire face and all the hair and the ears burned off, not to mention all the clothing, but also the hands and feet, with what remains of the arms and legs bent at the knees and elbows and burned into absolutely rigid angles, burned a greasy blackish brown like the bursting body itself, so that this husband, father, officer, gentleman, this ornamentum of some mother’s eye, His Majesty the Baby of just twenty-odd years back, has been reduced to a charred hulk with wings and shanks sticking out of it.”
– Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff

Sorry. Couldn’t resist. :smiley:

BTW, AudryK: “Plummet” is one of my favourite words!

Did you all hear about the two Cessnas from the Long Beach Flying Club that crashed in mid-air the other day and plummeted into the ocean? Both aircraft held a student and an instructor. Bad luck, that. But the coastline is one of the busiest places to fly around here and they should have kept their eyes peeled. Since both flights were from the same club, you’d think there’d be more coordination between the instructors. :frowning:

I, too, am a private pilot, holding ratings in helicopters and single-engine land aircraft. We all have attitude. You know the old saying about pilots: “Big watch, big wallet, big…” (Ego!)

And along those lines:

How do you know there’s a pilot at your party?
He’ll tell you.

How many pilots does it take to change a light bulb?
One. He holds onto it and the world revolves around him.

**Johnny L.A. **, you’re a pilot, and one of your favourite words is “plummet”?! :eek:

Heh. :smiley:

Ironic, isn’t it? Note: I didn’t say that I plummetted in aircraft! I just think it’s a nice descriptive word. Have I mentioned that I like to fly the helicopter with the doors off? Better view.

I’ve always wanted to use the following line on a passenger, but I keep forgetting: “You know? I could kill us both right now.” (No exclamation point. Just deadpan. :smiley: )

Don’t worry. I think killing one’s self is counterproductive and I would never intentionally do anything to harm myself or others. Especially in an aircraft. I just have a very strange sense of humour.

I like your brand of humour. :smiley:
OOC, does anyone know if airlines make it a point to not show movies that depict plane crashes? You’d think they’d have to be sensitive to that sorta thing…