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ARTICLE: Flying is the safest mode of transportation


Sanjiv

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No other means of transportation surpasses airplane safety. 2023 was the safest year in the history of aviation.

Aviation is the safest means of transportation in the world, according to the website of the US-based Sheff Field School of Aeronautics. In fact, since the beginning of time humans have been attracted towards the vast blue sky.

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This fact has been confirmed by the International Air Transport Association IATA that released a report in February this year in the global aviation sector. The same was clarified in the report. For every 12 lakh 60 thousand flights this year, only 0.8 percent accidents have been reported. It was 1.3 in 2022. Also, the number of deaths has also come down a lot. Started in 1945 with only 57 airlines as members, this organization currently has 330 airlines from 120 countries as members. IATA member airlines carry 80 percent of the world's air traffic.

Aviation is the safest means of transportation in the world, according to the website of the US-based Sheff Field School of Aeronautics. In fact, humans have been attracted towards the vast blue sky since the primeval times. They dreamed of flying like a bird in the sky and reaching for the stars. In 1903, Wilbur and Olive Wright invented an anti-gravity airplane. Historians say that before the Wright brothers, Shivkar Bapuji piloted a plane near Chowpatty in Talpade, Mumbai as early as 1895. An engine filled with mercury was attached to a bamboo tube and flown in the air for eighteen minutes. Baroda Maharaja Shivaji Rao performed the “Marutsakha” flying feat in front of Gaikwad. It is also said that the plane went to a height of 1500 feet. Airplanes first came into use for military purposes and later moved into passenger and goods transport services.

Since its inception in 1945 till today, a few thousand flights have been carrying millions of passengers safely to their destinations on a few lakh trips. Due to favorable weather and technical reasons, we are seeing accidents happening here and there. Unlike these, there have been incidents in the past where hundreds of passengers lost their lives.

Aviation Accidents and Deaths: 1945-2024
COUNTRY ACCIDENTS DEATHS
India 95 2,352
America 870 10,846
Canada 191 1,800
France 105 2,246
United Kingdom 110 1,298
Russia 544 8,505
Indonesia 106 2,305
Mexico 102 1,287
Columbia 185 2,932
Brazil 193 2,740

Source: Aviation Safety Net 2024

How safe is aviation?

Tragedy in Mangalore
It was May 22, 2012.. An Air Express flight from Dubai was trying to land at Mangalore Airport in Karnataka State. The pilot is in a dilemma whether to land the plane or not. The co-pilot said to the pilot three times, "No, let's go back". Meanwhile, the plane crossed the runway and fell down the hill and caught fire. 158 people including the pilot, co-pilot and other crew were burnt in the accident. Only 8 survived. The pilot's attempt to land on the tabletop, just like landing on the normal runways, was also found to be one of the causes of the Mangalore flight accident.

Incident repeated after ten years
Exactly ten years after the Mangalore accident, a similar accident took place in Kozhikode, Kerala. It was August 7, 2020.. Like there, there is a tabletop runway for planes to land. An Air India Boeing 737 flight coming from Dubai to Kozhikode suddenly went out of control while landing on the runway. Later, it fell into a 30 feet deep valley next to it and broke into two pieces. 19 people in the plane died. A thorough investigation by the DGCA has concluded that due to heavy rains, water entered the runway and the plane went out of control.

What are table top runways?
This type of runway is built on hilly terrain where it is flat. Compared to normal airport runways, they can be confusing and disorienting to even the most skilled pilots. Even if the pilots make a hair-breadth mistake, the plane will be in great danger. There are similar tabletop runways in the country.. Mangalore, Kozhikode, Mizoram. Due to these difficulties, many civil airlines refrain from sending aircraft such as Boeing-737 and Airbus A-330 to airports with tabletop runways.

Missile attack on civilian aircraft?
On August 31, 1983, Korean Flight 007, carrying 269 passengers, was mistakenly shot down by the Soviet Union, mistaking it for a US military aircraft. What actually happened was that the plane stopped at the anchorage near Canada filled with fuel and left for Seoul. The crew who put the aircraft in autopilot mode did not know that the autopilot mode was not working. After some time the plane deviated from its intended route and started heading towards Soviet territory. The plane bound for Seoul ran towards the east coast of the Soviet Union. Korean Airlines Flight 007 deviated from the prescribed route and flew 200 km towards the east coast of the Soviet Union. Commanders of Dolinx Sukol Airbase have been alerted. Two Sukhoi Su-15 aircraft were dispatched to alert the aircraft. As there was no response from the pilots, they thought it was an American military plane and shot it down with missiles. 269 people drowned when the plane crashed into the sea near Moneran Island, west of Sakhalin.

The pilot sabotaged his life along with the passengers
On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean. The disappearance of this plane remains a mystery. Efforts by international organizations to find the plane's spare parts or exact details of its disappearance have been unsuccessful. 239 passengers of the plane drowned. The flight lost signal with the air traffic controller 39 minutes after take off in Kuala Lumpur. Pilot Simon Hardy, a British aviation expert and a member of the team that investigated the plane's disappearance, revealed key facts. According to Simon Hardy, according to his sketch, the pilot of MH370, Zahari Ahmed Shah, used the passengers as part of his suicide plan to make the plane disappear. At the time of the accident, the pilot had deliberately tried to make the plane disappear in the Geelwink Fracture Zone in the South Indian Ocean. An FBI investigation also supports a similar theory.

349 people died in a plane crash in the mid air
349 people were killed in a plane crash on November 12, 1996. People there still tremble when they remember that day. Dead bodies and pieces of meat were scattered for about ten kilometers. No matter where you look, there was wreckage of the plane! This is the scene seen in Charkhidadri district of Haryana. At an altitude of 15 thousand feet two planes collided with each other. That's it.. 349 people lost their lives in moments. It was the worst accident in aviation history. What actually happened..

A Boeing 747 of Saudi Arabian Airlines took off from Delhi airport with 290 people on board. On the other hand, another chartered plane from Kazakhstan is coming to land at that airport. The air traffic control personnel advised the Saudi Arabian plane to climb to a height of 14,000 feet. On the other hand, for the Kazakhstan flight, it was suggested to descend to 15 thousand feet and continue there. But at this time an unexpected incident happened. Kazakhstani pilots who do not have a good command of English language could not properly understand the instructions received from the ATC. As a result, instead of being at a height of 15 thousand feet, the plane was brought down further. In this sequence, an unimaginable disaster happened.

The aircraft and the radar systems in the ATC center were not fully available. No one could detect the fact that the planes were approaching. As a result, the two planes collided in the mid air. There was a big explosion in the sky..a big ball of fire was seen in orange color. What happened in the airspace in Charkhidadri districts is terrible.

Strict rules to the pilots

After this accident, two important changes took place in the aviation industry. The first one was ACAS system. It avoids such accidents by accurately calculating the distance between the planes and giving the pilot real-time information. The second change is the requirement that the pilots have a minimum knowledge of English. India insists on making it mandatory. Initially there was opposition to this proposal but later all the countries accepted this provision.

Indian Aviation: Safety Score 2018-2024
CATEGORY 2018 2024
Staff Training & Licensing 25.58% 84.71%
Arial Operations 80.34% 97.44%
Airworthiness 90.20% 97.06%
Airport Management 72.36% 92.68%

Source: Global Aviation Safety Ranking 2024

"Kanishka" accident filled with great sadness
On June 23, 1985, an Air India Kanishka flight from Montreal, Canada to New Delhi exploded over the Atlantic Ocean before landing at London's Heathrow Airport. Khalistan Sikh terrorists planted a bomb in it. A total of 329 people died in this incident. Most of the dead were Indo-Canadians living in Canada. The plane exploded at an altitude of 31,000 feet.

583 people died in the tragic accident at Los Rodeos airport
On March 27, 1977, 583 people lost their lives when two planes collided on the runway. 47 years ago today, the Tenerife plane crash left a deep tragedy. Two planes are ready for take off at Los Rodeos airport in Spain. Along with the KLM Boeing 747, the PanAm plane is ready to take off full of passengers. Both the planes have to get clearance from the aviation authorities for take-off. Earlier, many flights were diverted to Los Rodeos due to a terrorist incident at Gran Canaria Airport. As it is a small airport, the situation has become confusing. At the same time, the Pan Am plane was parked on a runway. However, the KLM flight captain got the air traffic control clearance from the aviation authorities and prepared the plane for take-off on the runway and steered the plane forward. A Pan Am plane is parked across the runway on which this KLM plane is running. Due to the fog, the KLM pilots could not see the plane until they got close. After getting too close, the sensors alerted and the Pan Am plane was seen in the distance, even though the KLM pilots tried for an emergency take-off, but to no avail. The KLM plane, which came too fast, collided with the Pan Am plane. 234 passengers on the KLM flight and 14 crew members died. 335 of the 396 people on board the Pan Am flight were killed.

Survivors eat corpses
On October 13, 1972, 40 Uruguayan rugby players, along with their friends and family, left for Santiago, the capital of Chile, to participate in a tournament. The Air Force plane they were traveling in crashed in the Andes mountain range. The world was shocked when it came to light how some died and those who were alive survived in difficult situations. Some survived after fighting for their lives for 72 days in the Andes mountain, where the lowest temperatures during the day are recorded far away from the world, in the unbearable snow at night. They revealed the shocking truth that they ate the flesh of the dead to save lives in those icebergs. It was a tragic accident that will forever be remembered in the history of aviation.


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