Commercial Airliners And The Media Essay, Research Paper
Commercial airliners fly very high, very fast, and very efficiently. Given their extreme height and speed, many people are fearful of flying. There is a common myth in North America that commercial airliners are dangerous, but this is far from the truth.
The public view aircraft as extreme, as something they have no control over. This is different from the way the public regards, for example, automobiles. It is human nature for people to want to have full control. They feel safer, because they are actually controlling the car. Also, the fact that airplanes fly at extreme heights makes it difficult for the public to understand how safe they can be. The fact is that you are more likely to die or get injured just driving to the airport, compared with flying on an airplane. As John Marder said, The chances of you dying up there on that airplane are so low, you had a better chance of dying in your fancy BMW on the way over here. (Crichton 223).
The media can generate unnecessary concern by reporting only the accidents, and not reporting the outstanding safety record airliners usually have. No matter how good the aircraft is, even if it has been working flawlessly for fifty years, the media can report one bad incident, and the public will fear flying in this aircraft forever. Because of this, the aircraft manufacturer will have to stop making a perfectly good aircraft. As Casey Singleton said in Airframe, That was the first time bad media has destroyed a good aircraft. (Chricton 111). Airplane manufacturers struggle with this problem everyday. If airline companies like Northwest or Delta install parts incorrectly because, for example, they do not follow manufacturer s instructions, or buy parts from counterfeit manufacturers to save a few dollars, this makes airplanes unreliable and a potential danger to passengers. This is not the fault of the aircraft manufacturer, yet if something were to go wrong with the airplane, the manufacturer would be the first one blamed. Fan blades broke off the rotor disk and the cowling around the engine didn t contain the fragments. The engine blew because it wasn t properly maintained. It should never have happened. But our wing absorbed the flying fragments protecting passengers in the cabin. So the real meaning of this event is that Norton Aircraft are so well built that they protected two hundred and seventy passengers from a bad engine. We re actually heroes- but Norton stock will fall tomorrow. And some of the public will be afraid to fly on a Norton aircraft. Is that an appropriate response to what actually happened? No. But it s an appropriate response to what s being reported. That s frustrating for people here. (Crichton 116-117).
In reality, the people who maintain and build airplanes take great pride in their work. They take so much pride in their work that they get very angry when the media makes false accusations. They are very confident that if anything goes wrong with the airplane, it is automatically the customer s fault. With these kinds of workers, airplanes are built with extreme precision, and attention to quality. Compared to automobiles, airplanes take almost ten times the time to make, and are built to last two lifetimes, compared to cars which can barely last ten years. If maintenance is done as specified by the manufacturers, people will travel in one of the safest and fastest forms of transportation on this planet. As Casey said, The guys here take great pride in their work, and don t like anything that isn t made in America. I d keep an eye on your BMW. (Cricthon 163).
The myth of commercial airplanes being dangerous is a very common thought in the eyes of the public. Despite what the public thinks, for the most part airplanes are the safest way to travel. The public should be more concerned with making automobile transportation safer. As a final thought, the government should set regulations for how airplanes must be maintained. In this context, airplanes are a fast, convenient, and most importantly, a safe way to travel.