How to fly safely. Andreas Spaeth on the hidden risks of aviation

Statistically speaking, the airplane is the safest means of transportation. In the case of four billion people who flew in 2018 and more than 40 million flights, there were nonetheless incidents in which 562 people died.

The anniversary of the Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps (March 24, 2015) or certain abbreviations such as flight number MH370 not only stand for flight disasters, but also for the fact that a residual risk always flies with you. Reason enough for the journalist Andreas Spaethto investigate the mysterious and lesser-known airplane accidents of the past few years.

In his book “Crash test” In nine chapters he illuminates the background to the “hidden risks of flying”, so the subtitle of the Heyne published new publication. Spaeth first describes the flight situations and circumstances, often as vividly as if he had taken the copilot’s seat, and describes events that will soon take a dramatic turn. This is followed by his factually drawn conclusion of the accidents. The following applies to almost all airplane crashes: 70 percent of fatal disasters in aviation can be traced back to human error.

Most frightening is the example of Air France flight 447 from 2009, when the pilots of the Airbus A330 did everything wrong, panicked and could no longer “fly by hand” when the speed indicators in the cockpit failed.

“However, the extensive automation has meant,” writes Spaeth in his balance sheet of the crash, “that the manual capabilities of flying have atrophied so much that they are often no longer sufficient in an emergency.”

The book is less recommended for people with a fear of flying – except for a checklist at the end. Spaeth’s 14 tips “This is how you fly safely” are presented on the pages of this photo series.

Also read:

50 years ago: The crazy US plans for a supersonic passenger jet

– Miles millionaire Fred Finn: “I have flown the Concorde 718 times”

– Boeing 707: Hamburg Airport scraps historic aircraft

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