Are you afraid to fly?

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Read the post below for valuable statistics before you vote.  Also, please leave comments.  We like data from voting, but we also like your opinions!

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Are you afraid to fly?

 

Less than one week after the Germanwings flight crashed into the Alps mountains, killing 150 people, an Air Canada flight made a hard landing at Halifax International Airport.  Luckily, when the Air Canada plane crash occurred early Sunday morning, March 29th, there was no one killed.  Twenty-three were injured, however.  Let us also not forget also the recent Malaysia Air crash that killed 239 people, and the many we have heard about through the years.

All of this said, flying on an airplane is still safe from a statistical viewpoint.  According to International Business Times, via a 2006 Harvard study, the chances of dying in an airplane crash is one in 11 million.  Compare this to the odds of dying in a car crash, which is one in 5,000.  Why, then, do we feel so unsafe when flying, and so unsettled at the thought of it?

I used to fly around on small, twin engine airplanes for a living as an aerial photographer.  While I felt safe most of the time, there was one time when one propeller had to be shut down because it was catching on fire.  The pilot told me not to worry.  He said if the other one goes out, then we would have a problem.  Nevertheless, his words did not stop me from sweating a little more than I like, as you might imagine.

With statistics what they are, why does there seem to be a larger fear of getting on airplanes than, for example, getting in a car?  I think there are three main reasons for this.  First, flying on an airplane incorporates other fears into the activity, such as fear of heights and claustrophobia.  Second, we are not the ones in control of the airplane.  Someone else, the pilot, is.  I think people feel less afraid when they are in control.  Finally, I think the fact that airplane crashes, when they occur, dominate the media for weeks, and people relive the possibility of that happening to them over and over again each time they see the reports.  This just builds fear.  When all three of these are combined together, it is a perfect recipe for mass phobia to occur.

I would suspect that if we run a poll about whether or not people are afraid of getting in their cars, the majority of people would say they are not.  We are curious, however, about how many people feel they are afraid of flying.  Are you?  Vote on this poll now.

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Are you afraid to fly?

 

 

 

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