Crash course in surviving a plane accident

Despite the tragic Virgin Galactic space plane crash that claimed a test pilot’s life last week, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos among other high tech executives still believe in the future of commercial space tourism. In his first press conference after the crash of SpaceShipTwo in the Mojave Desert, Branson likened this new frontier (i.e., commercial space) to commercial flights, which experienced many fatal setbacks in its earliest days.

True, flying on commercial planes is one of the safest means of transportation. Over 8 million people fly each day. But in the past decade there has been no more than 138 crashes with fatalities. SKW has had the privilege of representing plaintiffs on some of those plane crashes.

!Plane Crash stats

In the last decade, there have been less than 140 plane crashes with fatalities.

Despite the statistics that should calm frequent fliers, I admit that I’ve wondered about my fate whenever my plane takes off or when we hit turbulence in the air. When I first started to fly with my husband, I used to secretly chuckle at him for his diligence in following along with the flight attendant’s review of the safety instructions. I hid my chuckling because another part of me knew that Eric was wiser for paying attention. He would know exactly what to do, if our plane was one of those several dozen flights that suddenly crashed into some body of water. At that point, his chances of surviving would greatly increase compared to the rest of the passengers, who had opted to ignore the instructions just to focus on their magazine or Kindle.

As the years go by, ever since I’ve started to fly with my little girl, I too will follow along with Eric and my daughter to review the flight safety instructions. In fact, I have more than once embarrassed my daughter by dancing (while buckled in my seat) and singing along to the new Virgin America flight safety video… hey, I’m not the only one (check out this entertaining video!).

Well, British Airways now offers airplane crash safety courses for the general public.  Those who take this course even get a chance to go down the inflatable slide and learn the proper brace position.


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