Why was 2017 aviation’s safest year?
If you missed the news at the end of last year, you might not know that 2017 was aviation’s safest year yet. The statistics are unbelievable (and extremely positive), with over 4 billion passengers flying worldwide on 38 million flights, yet there wasn’t one single fatality on one of those scheduled jetliners.
This fantastic achievement is something for which the whole industry should be proud. But what exactly was it about 2017 that made it aviation’s safest year? Was it an anomaly? Or should we be looking forward to more of the same?
The latest stage in a growing trend
You could argue that 2017 wasn’t so much an unexpected achievement. In fact, looking at improvements in aviation safety dating all the way back to 1903, you could say that this news was no more surprising than the fact that Christmas comes once a year!
In fact, aviation has (quite expectedly) gotten safer and safer since heavier-than-air flight began with the Wright Brothers. And sadly, it is only because of the number of accidents and fatalities which have occurred since then which have led to enhanced engineering, tighter regulations and safer practices which have, thankfully, over time made the world of aviation a safer place.
Safety developments over time
So what has changed over the past century? Well, when you look into it, it’s been a real joint effort of everyone in the industry.
- The planes we fly are much safer, thanks to the tireless work of the aircraft manufacturers who have built safer models with enhanced design and better performance.
- We pilots have developed our ability. The very act of achieving a pilot’s license requires a higher level of skills and knowledge, meaning that those of us in the cockpit are now better qualified to fly safely.
- An increase in regulation – and the involvement of politicians on this side – has tightened procedures to become more safety conscious. Rules associated with flying, both regarding crew and passengers, have made airplanes safer places to be.
- When accidents have happened in the past, the crucial work of accident investigators has identified causes and led to prevention strategies for the future.
- Maintenance technicians have upped the level of their work to ensure that any aircraft is safe to fly at any one time and that if it isn’t, the appropriate procedures take place to make it so.
- Enhanced technology has helped dispatchers gain a more accurate understanding of both weather and landing conditions, making it easier for them to make safer decisions.
- Finally, flight attendants have played an important role in relaying safety information to passengers, and more efficiently managing aircraft evacuations when necessary.
Can we do more?
With such an exceptional multifaceted team working together to make aviation safer for all of us, it’s no wonder that our industry leads the way in this field. However, despite the fact that many other industries look to us for inspiration, we still have more to do.
One of the most significant causes of aircraft accidents today is when pilots lose control, so there is arguably more to be done to increase training in this area. Runway safety is still an aspect for improvement too, so efforts need to be upped here to reduce the risk of accidents on the ground. Another factor we need to address is drones and other unmanned aircraft, and how their presence increases safety risks for all of us. Therefore, we have some definite targets to work towards.
Maybe aviation’s safest year wasn’t an anomaly. Instead, it’s an achievement we can look forward to seeing again, and more importantly, getting even better at.
Are you inspired to learn to fly? There’s never been a safer time! So why not get started today at CTI Professional Flight Training?