Many people find themselves afraid of flying, whether it is because they are afraid of crashing, heights, being in small places, or fear of public spaces.
2014 has been a big year for this fear. Malaysia has had an especially tough year in the aviation industry, they have lost three planes in the air and had a lot of struggles finding the planes in the oceans, stirring up conspiracy theories as to where the planes went. The search is still on for AirAsia flight 8501.
On July 17, Malaysian flight MH17 was shot down, whether it was Russia or Ukraine is still unclear, 298 passengers were onboard. All were killed, two-thirds of the passengers were Dutch. Once there was a pause in the fighting between Russia and Ukraine, a Dutch team when down to the crash site, in Ukraine, to look for bodies. This is not the first time a plane has been shot down in Ukraine, however. Many military planes have been shot down by missiles over the past couple of weeks leading up to the crash of flight MH17.
This is not the first Malaysian flight to go down. Earlier in March Malaysian flight 370 lost contact and disappeared, 239 people were on board. The flight departed from Kuala Lumpur and was set to land in Beijing but never made it. Both of these planes were Boeing 777 models. An AirAsia flight containing 162 passengers has gone missing as well. This has proved to be a terrible year for Malaysian aviation.
A lot of the news has been covering the scary truths about flying, but when taking a closer look, you can easily see that planes are actually very safe. The statistics prove it. There are about 42 thousand airports around the world. On average there are 86 plane crashes a year according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). For the millions of flights that take off yearly this is not bad at all.
Planes are built to ensure as much safety as possible for the passenger. In fact, the transportation industry looks at the safety and regulations of planes under a fine-toothed comb. If you fly out of the United States, statistics say that the chance of being in a fatal accident is one in seven million. We tend to think that planes are very unsafe and will try to take another form of transportation to get to our destination if possible. However driving is way more unsafe than taking a commercial flight– a hundred deaths are caused each day auto accidents.
Aviophobia is the fear of flying. Nathan Feiles (a psychologist) digs deeper into this phobia and explains its cause. Many things can lead to the fear of flying such as, lack of control, fear of heights, as well as public fear. Feiles goes on to say “Some people feel if they’re not in control of something that it will go wrong. So if we’re not flying the plane (or don’t understand how the plane or flying works), our feeling is that we will crash. “ Plane crashes may stick in the minds of the general public because of many reasons. One reason is also the overactive imagination some people have. Overactive imagination causes the brain to create scenarios that may actually never happen. However they implement fear. Another factor is the fact that the media knows how well a news piece that engages fear, sells.
Despite all these setbacks and scares you may have heard on the media, planes are actually very safe. These incidents will just increase safety regulations more than what they were these past few years.