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LiterateParakeet

Why do planes crash

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With the recent episodes of missing planes, I kept trying to remember where I heard/read a discussion about plane crashes  addressed.  I finally remembered, it was Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers.  It's a fascinating book, but for time sake, here is a youtube video of Malcolm Gladwell telling a story about this from his book.

 

Edited by LiterateParakeet

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Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. I've always had a morbid fascination with plane crashes. In grade school a friends father barely missed being on a plane that crashed near Pittsburgh. 

 

We all have our quirks!  ;)

Edited by MormonGator

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You guys should check out episodes of "Mayday" (Known as Air Crash Investigations in England.)  Each episode profiles an actual commercial airline crash and then goes through the NTSB investigation and shows the causes.  (It's never just one thing, but a combination of problems that create a perfect storm resulting in a plane going down.)  They have full episodes on YouTube.

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You guys should check out episodes of "Mayday" (Known as Air Crash Investigations in England.)  Each episode profiles an actual commercial airline crash and then goes through the NTSB investigation and shows the causes.  (It's never just one thing, but a combination of problems that create a perfect storm resulting in a plane going down.)  They have full episodes on YouTube.

 

I'm sure that would be delightful in-flight entertainment for transatlantic and transpacific flights...

 

Remember that scene from Rain Man where they fight about airplane crashes, and it's mentioned that only Qantas has a perfect safety record?  Many airlines showed this movie in flight, but they cut that scene.  (Qantas, however, kept it.)

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With the recent episodes of missing planes, I kept trying to remember where I heard/read a discussion about plane crashes  addressed.  I finally remembered, it was Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers.  It's a fascinating book, but for time sake, here is a youtube video of Malcolm Gladwell telling a story about this from his book.

 

planes crash from everythng from pilot error, software error, hardware error, hardware failure, and/or extreme natural phenomena.... usually when you get a perfect mix of all the above.

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planes crash from everythng from pilot error, software error, hardware error, hardware failure, and/or extreme natural phenomena.... usually when you get a perfect mix of all the above.

 

I think that is pretty much common knowledge.  But Malcolm Gladwell has some thought-provoking ideas to add about pilot error in particular.

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I'm sure that would be delightful in-flight entertainment for transatlantic and transpacific flights...

 

Remember that scene from Rain Man where they fight about airplane crashes, and it's mentioned that only Qantas has a perfect safety record?  Many airlines showed this movie in flight, but they cut that scene.  (Qantas, however, kept it.)

 

Sadly, one episode of this series featured a Qantas flight.  It was a while ago that I saw it, but I don't think the plane actually went down, it just had large chunks fall off of it in flight.  (This happened after Rain Man was filmed, of course.)

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Mayday is a great show. So is "Why Planes Crash" on the Weather channel. 

 

The more I "studied" (such a pretentious word) plane crashes the more comfortable I was flying. It's an odd paradox but by looking at the statistics plane crashes really are extremely rare. 

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I think that is pretty much common knowledge.  But Malcolm Gladwell has some thought-provoking ideas to add about pilot error in particular.

Gladwell is a genius, one of the relatively few popular authors who deserves that popularity.

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Mayday is a great show. So is "Why Planes Crash" on the Weather channel. 

 

The more I "studied" (such a pretentious word) plane crashes the more comfortable I was flying. It's an odd paradox but by looking at the statistics plane crashes really are extremely rare. 

 

I feel the same way.  Seeing how many safety procedures and mechanisms are in place, as well as how intensely the NTSB investigates these things serves as a reminder of why it's so safe to fly.

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The more I "studied" (such a pretentious word) plane crashes the more comfortable I was flying. It's an odd paradox but by looking at the statistics plane crashes really are extremely rare. 

 

More interesting to me is watching the various near misses where disaster was averted by pilot skill.

 

Makes me wonder how many car wrecks could be prevented if drivers had to go through the same amount of training.

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More interesting to me is watching the various near misses where disaster was averted by pilot skill.

 

Makes me wonder how many car wrecks could be prevented if drivers had to go through the same amount of training.

True, but pilots have thousands of hours of training before they can even think about piloting a jet (Don't they? Please correct me if I am wrong!) 

 

It's highly impractical for car drivers to have the same, but I totally see your point. 

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More interesting to me is watching the various near misses where disaster was averted by pilot skill.

 

Makes me wonder how many car wrecks could be prevented if drivers had to go through the same amount of training.

I wonder if a pilot can text while flying....:)

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I was on a flight once where something happened to the landing gear upon take off. The wheels would not retract so we flew low and slow with the wheels down.  The flight attendants were moving people around to different seats to even out the plane. We took crash positions just before landing. I too watch forensic plane crash shows that do reenactments and I all I could think of at that time is; Who will they get to portray me in a TV show reenactment?

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True, but pilots have thousands of hours of training before they can even think about piloting a jet (Don't they? Please correct me if I am wrong!) 

 

It's highly impractical for car drivers to have the same, but I totally see your point. 

 

Commercial pilots, and especially those carrying passengers will generally have to have several thousand flight hours in private or military planes to get the job, but that's also partly a function of it being a very good job with lots of applicants, so the airlines are going to pick the most experienced.

 

However, even for general aviation, the amount of training in "what can go wrong and what to do about it" is several orders of magnitude more than is seen in any state's driver education.  While things like wetting down an empty parking lot to practice skids, or outfitting a car to simulate brake failures or blowouts could get expensive, it would make for much safer drivers.  Even just setting up challenge courses like the ones on Canada's Worst Drivers as a normal part of driver ed and driver testing would keep a lot of people off the road until they learn to properly control a vehicle.

 

How many people do you see on a regular basis who are completely incapable of parallel parking, backing into a regular parking space, or even pulling into a space forward without being over the lines?  If you can't keep up with where the corners of the car are well enough to handle it at under 5 mph, how can you possibly claim to be anything but a menace in heavy 70+ mph traffic?

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How many people do you see on a regular basis who are completely incapable of parallel parking, backing into a regular parking space, or even pulling into a space forward without being over the lines?  If you can't keep up with where the corners of the car are well enough to handle it at under 5 mph, how can you possibly claim to be anything but a menace in heavy 70+ mph traffic?

 

I once knew someone who had the most irritating driving habit I've ever seen: on freeways flowing at normal speeds, he would slow his car down to 5 or 10 miles per hour before changing lanes.  He's still alive, amazingly, but now living in a faraway state now so I probably won't meet him again on any local freeways.  I'm really glad he's not a pilot.  One wonders what would happen to his plane if he decided to change altitude. 

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You guys should check out episodes of "Mayday" (Known as Air Crash Investigations in England.)  Each episode profiles an actual commercial airline crash and then goes through the NTSB investigation and shows the causes.  (It's never just one thing, but a combination of problems that create a perfect storm resulting in a plane going down.)  They have full episodes on YouTube.

watched those when they were up on hulu :).

 

Edited by Blackmarch

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I wonder if a pilot can text while flying.... :)

actually i think that just got ruled against in recent rules updates if I recall right.... altho the only time a pilot can would be able to if at all when the copilot has control.

Edited by Blackmarch

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