Category Archives: Safety and Security

Rear-facing seats are safer

Most passengers hate to sit with their back to the front. Yet, rear-facing seats are considerably safer than seats facing the front.

If an aircraft suddenly decelerates, your body still has the plane's original speed. As a result, you tend to fly out of your seat to the front.

Seat belts will keep you in your seat, but the risk of spinal injuries is high as was proven when Asiana Airlines flight 124 crashed in San Francisco on July 6, 2013.

Of the 307 people aboard the aircraft, 3 died,...
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Is there a doctor on board?

Medical emergencies during flights occur daily, although they are rare on a per-passenger basis. An article The New England Journal of Medicine published on May 30, 2013 estimates that 44,000 in-flight medical emergencies occur worldwide each year. The authors review records of in-flight medical emergency calls from 5 US and international airlines to a physician-directed medical communications center between January 2008 and October 2010.There was 1 medical emergency per 604 flights resulting in calls to the center, equivalent to 16 medical emergencies per 1 million passengers. Physician passengers provided medical assistance in nearly half of the emergencies and aircraft diversion occurred...
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No knives in the plane?

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced in March 2013 it would start permitting passengers to carry small pocketknives on April 25, 2013. It was a rational plan that actually came quite late.

Given the hardened cockpit doors a small knife cannot be used by terrorists to take over a plane, The time screeners spend on searching for small knives is a waste and could be better used for activities that are more essential for security.

However, the TSA delayed its plan under pressure of opponents and...
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Who should determine whether it is safe to fly?

We have run a poll allowing you to vote who should determine whether it is safe to fly: the government or individual airlines. The poll is inspired by the closure of European and Atlantic air space due to the Icelandic volcanic ash crisis in 2010. As we have 3 versions of our web site - in English, Dutch and Russian - we have obtained 3 different results. All 3 web sites see a majority of visitors voting for the government. However, the majorities differ in size. The majority amounts to 61% on the English version, 70% on the Dutch web site, and 87%...
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How safe is Ryanair?

Four Ryanair pilots claim that they regularly fly with less fuel than they would like and that the airline presses them to cut costs. With less fuel in the tanks a plane is lighter and burns less fuel. The (anonymous and unrecognizable) whistle-blowers illustrate their claim on Dutch TV in a KRO program (with English subtitles) by referring to 3 Ryanair planes inbound to Madrid (Spain) and diverted to Valencia due to Thunderstorms on July 26, 2012. All 3 send out Mayday emergency calls due to low fuel levels when approaching Valencia.Ryanair says its pilots have followed correct...
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To save you we need to kill you

A longstanding principle in radiation safety is that humans should not be X-rayed unless there is a medical need, but after 9/11 this principle was abolished. In the USA, millions of airline passengers are now marching through body scanners although many other countries consider that such widespread use of radiation poses unacceptable health risks. The scanners have escaped the oversight required for machines used in hospitals. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) subjects them to a less severe evaluation than it applies to medical devices because they do not have a medical purpose.The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says...
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