Pilots are too often flying when tired

A RARE tragedy came to pass on December 7th: a fatal crash at a European airport. As it came into land at a foggy Basel airport in France, a light aircraft narrowly missed a British Airways jet on the runway. The smaller plane burst into flames; two people were reportedly killed.

Such occurrences are thankfully few and far between. Flying is about as safe a form of transport as there is. A commercial flight takes off somewhere in the world, on average, every second. That is some 37m journeys a year. Yet according to IATA, the main airline-industry body, last year not a single passenger on a commercial jet died in an accident. (IATA does not count deliberate acts of sabotage as accidents, such as Germanwings flight 9525, which was deliberately downed by its pilot over the French Alps. ) Flying in Europe is especially safe. In 2015, there were just 1.5 accidents for every million flights.

The reason for such a remarkable safety record is a lack of complacency among airlines and regulators. Pilots routinely report their mistakes to their bosses; problems are,…Continue reading

This post was originally published in the Economist.

Pilots are too often flying when tired

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