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Flying off

Colby Scudder

This is a car lover’s tongue and cheek response to Don Rogers’ “It’s safer to fly than drive Quick Takes dated March 25 about how “even with terrorism, it’s still much, much safer to fly than to drive.”

My response: Yeah, right. I just drove from Lexington, Ky., to Vail and I must say I felt I had more control over the course of my destination than when I used to travel the same route via airplane. (Notwithstanding the recent reports of pilots snoozing at the wheel, and the few plane crashes that have occurred in my part of the nation.) I believe anyone traveling on the road has a better chance of surviving or making a correction than those passengers being flown at 30,000 feet. Gravity works especially if, say, an engine suddenly shuts-down in mid-travel or if one of the cabin doors suddenly flies open. Let’s see who would have a better chance of surviving – a person driving, or flying at 30,000 feet.

Sidebar here: Now let’s talk about the statistics quoted in your piece. Although published by a good source, who compiled the numbers? I have always been taught to question statistics since, mostly, the sample pools are too small or the compilation source has obvious motives (not the WSJ, but the original group sponsoring the data gathering). I wonder if the Association for Flying Promotions compiled the data you quoted in your piece. Just kidding, of course.

Back to original driving is better than flying premise: Based on the aforementioned, Mr. Don, I challenge you to a travel survival duel. We’ll start our travels at the same time. You’ll board a 777 and I’ll board my SAAB 900. You’ll reach cruising altitude of 30,000 feet, and I will already be there. Then we’ll partake in the two mishaps mentioned in the first paragraph, starting with engine shut-down. Hmmmm, complete engine failure, who will have a better chance of surviving? You at 30,000 with little time for stall recovery, or me with immediate option of pushing in a clutch for engine restart? They say it’s difficult to recover from complete engine(s) failure in a jumbo jet, especially if all were to shut down due to a flock a geese being sucked into all engines or other mishaps. Yikes.

Next. Cabin door flying open in mid travel. Yikes, a cabin door suddenly opening in mid-flight. Happens from time to time. Hmmmm, let’s see cabin pressure, airplane door suddenly opening, you getting sucked out of plane. Me … car … cabin pressure not a factor … door opening … really hard to open … have tried that before … me not sucked out of cabin. OK now, who would have a better chance of surviving those rare but realistic instances? If you say you would have survived all of those tests, then we’ll move onto a loss of fuel, well, you get the picture.

Anyhoo, I look forward to you partaking in the travel challenge! That is if you think you have a better chance of surviving flying under those circumstances versus my surviving driving under them. Accidents happen, mostly under odd unforseeable circumstances. I look forward to hearing from you!


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