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Fear of Plane Crashes Part 1 - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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There have been great efforts made by airway companies to divert attention away from news of recent airplane accidents. However it is clear that all these efforts are in vain, since the news of a plane crash is much that of a war. There is a great fear that is rooted in air travel, which has been further impacted by the disproportionate number of plane accidents in the past few months.

Personally, I do not have a fear of flying, not out of courage but due to the frequency of my trips, but I can sense people”s fear and apprehension at airports. The worries vary from concerns about security to uneasiness about weather conditions. However, it is strange that despite our fears, we rarely listen carefully to instructions; we do not study the warning cards, not do we pay great attention to the safety video. The airhostesses continuing to smile as though the news conveyed across the mini screens were pleasant.

Among the instructions is the information provided about the yellow respirators that, as we have been told a thousand times, will drop above our heads if there is any imbalance in pressure or oxygen. There is also an explanation of how plastic lifejackets are used, where they can be found, how they are inflated and how its strings are attached and their whistles are blown. But what about the cosmetics mirror? What they forget to mention is that when a plane falls into the sea, you cannot react with the calmness of a person in a five star resort swimming pool.

The case of the French airbus was a miracle, since all the passengers were able to escape when the plane landed safely before it set alight. Unfortunately, the Greek plane was a different story that ended in the utmost tragedy. The plane continued to fly for an hour without a pilot, while Greek combat fighter planes circled the plane. The pilots then saw the passed out airline pilot and according to some sources, the saw passengers trying to fly the plane.

It was also reported that passengers had frozen to death an hour before the crash occurred because the air conditioning had malfunctioned, and it was said that they died of suffocation because of the lack of oxygen or spread of carbon dioxide, but the plane continued flying for an hour before it crashed on ground.

The airplane accidents that followed increased worries, since it has been unusual to hear of so many disasters in such a small space of time. Recent events have contradicted of an amateur pilot who once told me, &#34Brother, there is nothing to fear. Nowadays, planes are as abundant as flies and bees. They don’t just fall out of the sky due to a strong wind or of engine trouble”.

&#34Even if the engine breaks down?&#34 I asked him doubtfully. &#34Yes, simply because the plane is operated by two engines and engines don’t usually breakdown. And even if a breakdown did occur, though rare, it can fly with the second engine to the nearest airport.&#34

&#34What if the two engines broke down?&#34 I asked.

He looked mockingly at me and answered that it is almost impossible and even if it happened, the pilot can airily fly if he is close to an airport. I wondered if he meant that the pilot would fly as Abbas Ibn Fernas (One of the first people to attempt flying) once had.

“Sure, why not?&#34 he said before remembering that Ibn Fernas was killed in his very first flight trial.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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