For decades, air travel was considered dangerous, worsened by many people’s distrust of the science, devastating terrorist activity, and misconceptions surrounding the statistics. With the advent of new technologies and new safety regulations, however, air travel continues to become safer than ever before. In this article, we explore how and why this trend will continue in years to come.
1) Air Traffic Control
Each airport has a control tower to manage traffic. They’re responsible for working with pilots in their area to avoid collisions, allow planes to land safely, keep airspace clear for emergencies, and so on. They also work with air traffic controllers at other nearby airports to coordinate planes’ routes so they don’t have to take off or land in bad weather. Since it’s not always easy for a pilot or air traffic controller to get a direct line of sight on another plane flying around them, both can use radar to help track other aircraft and ensure safe distances are maintained. ATCs report any irregularities they see on radar screens that might need immediate attention from both pilots and air traffic controllers.
2) Weather Forecasting Technology
When it comes to air travel, weather forecasting technology is vital for a safe flight. Weather radar systems can track precipitation in real time, helping pilots plan routes around areas of bad weather. Today’s planes are also equipped with lightning detectors that warn pilots when they might be flying too close to a storm. On top of that, pilots have access to satellite data that tracks temperature changes in different parts of their route so they can get a better idea of how wind shear might affect flight paths. All these things make weather an important factor in air travel safety.
3) Aircraft Design
Today’s jet aircraft are built with safety in mind. Planes aren’t solely made out of aluminium anymore; they’re also composed of carbon fibre and even titanium, making them lighter but just as strong. Furthermore, today’s planes have redundant systems for everything from oxygen supply to controls. If one-part breaks, there are backup systems ready to kick in at a moment’s notice. Then there are mandated maintenance check-ups every 6 months—and if something is off, it gets fixed right away.
4) Better Airport Security
Increased security measures have helped stop many potentially dangerous situations, making air travel easier to manage for passengers and employees alike. While a single accident or attack would still be devastating, there are several reasons to be confident that we’re heading in a safer direction. One of those reasons is increased security at airports, like body scanners and bomb-sniffing dogs.