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Category Archives: Safety and Security

Security illusion

Daniel Casillo (31) is having fun on August 10, 2012 while racing on jet skis in New York's Jamaica Bay, until his watercraft stalls. He calls for help, but to no avail. Thus, he starts to swim to the lights he sees.

He makes it to land, where the lights appear to be John F. Kennedy airport's runway lights. Casillo climbs an 8-foot barbed-wire perimeter fence and walks undetected across two runways into Delta Air Lines' terminal 3.

He is dripping wet and wears his bright yellow life jacket when a...

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Where is the captain?

It takes Marc Dubois more than a minute to return to the cockpit when his 2 co-pilots are calling frantically for help. Dubois is the captain of the Air France flight 447 that plunges into the Atlantic while it is en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1, 2009. More than a minute is long considering that the plane 4 minutes and 23 seconds after the autopilot disengaged hits the water. It was never revealed why it takes him that long, but according to ABC News he is traveling socially with Veronique Gaignard, an off-duty Air France...
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The political illusion of security

The way airline security has been organized since 9/11 imposes an enormous burden on passengers both in terms of money and time. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that the cost of security has risen to at least €6 billion ($7.4 billion) a year.

It takes passengers longer and longer to get through security. Before 9/11, the average throughput of an airport security checkpoint was 355 passengers per hour. By adding ever more bureaucracy this average has more than halved to 149 passengers per hour.

Given the...
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False alarm

"This is an emergency. We will shortly be making an emergency landing on water." Passengers onboard a British Airways flight from Miami to London got the fright of their lives when they heard this announcement on January 16, 2012 at around 3 a.m. It was a pre-recorded message that left the passengers in panic as they feared for their lives. Half a minute later, however, a flight attendant came on over the intercom to apologize, saying the message was played in error. A passenger said that the flight attendant's tone suggested the crew had not grasped how seriously she had...
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Has flying become safer?

Global airline safety performance is better than ever according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the industry's mouthpiece. This is based on "hull losses", accidents in which the aircraft is destroyed or substantially damaged and is not subsequently repaired.

However, hull loss is an insurance term that is more relevant for airlines’ balance sheets than for passengers’ safety.

A relatively old plane with minor damage, for example, may be a hull loss, whereas a new aircraft with comparable damage is not. Yet, there is no difference between the 2 cases...

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Upside down

An All Nippon Airways (ANA) Boeing 737 carrying 117 people nose-dived and went almost belly-up over the Pacific on September 6, 2011.

The co-pilot wanted to open the cockpit door for the captain returning from a restroom break. However, he mistook the rudder trim knob for the cockpit door lock.

The rudder knob and the door lock switch are no more than 3.9 inches (10 cm) apart. As the picture shows, unlocking the door (the small

knob) and moving the rudder left (the big knob) is...
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