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2017 was the safest year in aviation history—what happened?

Aviation experts are calling 2017 the safest year in aviation history. However, this year there have been 10 incidents in just the first third of the year.

Last year, only five people died in aircraft incidents involving planes with more than 14 seats. This number fell to zero when talking about only jet aircraft. Unfortunately, this year 170 people have already died in aircraft incidents.

On Monday, March 12, 2018, a U.S. Bengala Bombardier Dash-8 Q400 turboprop plane crashed while landing in Kathmandu, Nepal. This crash was largely attributed to a miscommunication with air traffic control.

The aircraft was cleared to land on the south runway, but landed on the north instead where conditions were not ideal for landing. This led to the aircraft skidding off the runway.

The crash was mostly attributed to pilot error, and there is not much more to do than review pilot training procedures. Also, increasing verbal confirmations between the pilots and air traffic control could have helped the pilots remain aware of the situation.

On Sunday, March 11, 2018, a sightseeing Eurocopter AS350 fell into the East River in New York after an engine failure. An investigation is underway, even though the pilot claims that the reason the engine failed was because the backpack of one of the passengers struck an emergency fuel cutoff valve.

Officials believe that the five deaths in the crash were preventable. Before going up into the air, passengers are required to undergo a safety briefing. The victims of the crash were unable to exit the helicopter underwater in time because they were not properly trained on how to remove their seatbelts.

These safety briefings are oftentimes quite short, and not many really pay too much attention to these. Elongating and improving the safety procedures for riding in helicopters could have prevented the deaths seen here.

“I think air safety is pretty good as is, but there are always things to improve. For one, I’ve noticed myself never paying much attention to the little safety videos they play right before the flight. Making them more fun and interesting would be a great way to catch the attention of viewers and ensure that they know what needs to be done in an emergency,” said sophomore Olivia Cardile.

On Sunday, February 18, 2018, an Aseman Iran Airlines ATR 72-200 twin-engined turboprop plane crashed in Dena, Iran. This crash is believed to be caused by bad weather conditions, but an investigation is still ongoing.

On descent to Yasuj, Iran, the aircraft experienced low visibility weather conditions, and the plane eventually crashed into a mountain with no time to avoid the crash.

This crash could have been a result of poor equipment in the cockpit. Many aircraft these days have weather and terrain radar, but not all aircrafts are equipped with this. The ATR 72 involved in the incident may not have had the latest equipment installed which led to the crash.

Freshman Varoon Raghav says, “I believe that it’s important for airlines to do regular maintenance and install the best equipment on their planes which make them safer for pilots to fly. Some airlines like to cut corners, but they can’t keep doing this if they want to keep a good safety record.”

Air safety today is much better than it used to be, but until the amount of accidents in the air falls to an exact zero, there is always more we can do to ensure that everyone stays safe while flying the friendly skies.

What are your thoughts on air safety in 2018?

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