The landing gear of a Southwest Airlines flight arriving at New York's LaGuardia from Nashville, Tennessee collapsed, causing the plane to skid in a terrifying manner along the runway. Ten people were injured in the Southwest crash; many others suffered panic attacks (and long-term emotional trauma, I am sure). Luckily, no one has been reported killed.
The footage of the crash was caught on tape. It's the second crash of its kind in recent weeks, following the early July crash landing of Asiana Flight 214 in San Francisco. Like this crash, that one was also caught on tape. Unlike this one, there were fatalities.
Any time a plane crashes, it sends shock waves through the country. This is because many people (including myself) are afraid to fly in general. Many of us fly constantly despite these fears. We just pop a Xanax and hope for the best. But the reality is, we all know, despite these crashes, plane travel is still statistically safer than any other means of travel.
So what is it about it that makes it so scary? In part, it's stories like these. When you are in a plane, you have no control. Unlike with your car, you do no maintenance on a plane. You trust all the maintenance crew and the pilots and the flight attendants to be attentive, to look at the right things, to service the plane correctly, and to fly the same way you might drive.
It's scary to give up control.
On the other hand, pilots have backup. There are systems in place to help minimize pilot error, whereas a driver on the road is just on his or her own. One false move and you are dunzo. It's a wonder more of us don't need Xanax just to get behind the wheel.
Giving up control is scary, but having control is scary, too. There are drunk drivers, crazy people, and people who text while they drive. Think you are in "control" behind the wheel? Think again.
Plane travel is still safe and these accidents, while scary, aren't even close to the norm. Hopefully everyone affected by this one recovers quickly and has the courage to fly again.
Are you afraid to fly? Why?