Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How safe is air travel?

150 persons died when an Airbus operated by Lufthansa's budget airline crashed in a remote snowy area of the French Alps on Tuesday, 24th of March. Air accidents have become so common, and therefore so less-newsworthy, that many newspapers have relegated this news to their inner pages. Kamal Hassan's criticism of Central Board of Film Certification and Twitter Samvad have received more prominence even in sedate newspapers like The Hindu.

Capt.A.Ranganathan delivered a talk on safety in air travel on 13th March at the Sanskrit College in Chennai. His lecture was revealing. He explained how many pilots may not be in their best cognitive state on account of their recreational habits. The MH 370 pilot who is supposed to have deliberately crashed the ill-fated flight was deeply indebted, in adversarial relationship with the Malaysian government and supposed to have sworn to teach the government a lesson.

Back in India, the authorities do not hesitate to tax the pilots in excess of normal hours. Physical tiredness and consequent mental inattentiveness are a serious risk for domestic passengers. The airports in Kozhicode and Mangalore are too small for failsafe takeoffs and landings. 

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