Sunday, August 21, 2005

When Flying Becomes Unsafe....

Signing papers normally means a lot of hassle for someone, be it legal papers or work-related papers. It could also mean signing contract papers for your first job. For me and my close friend Alvyn, it was slightly more than a year ago that this happened to us. Contrary to being a hassle, it was possibly one of the happiest days of our lives! Not only did we manage to land a job, but it happen to be our dream job with our dream company.

Fast-forward one year and we're all at a seafood restaurant on the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu. Celebrating our one year anniversary with the company. It was a nice and satisfying dinner and the conversation came about current issues at work and also aviation. The current topic, the air crash involving a 737 in Greece. I will not go into more details on the topic as it is currently under investigation. May God Bless all the souls lost in that crash.

Air travel has been touted to be one of the safest mode of transportation in our world today. It is so safe that according to an article from an aviation magazine, 'time is running out for the big boys'. Simply, what this means is air travel is so safe that those involve in improving safety have nothing to work, study or investigate on anymore. There hasn't been a major incident in years. Then... out of nowhere, it started.... First, a French widebody jet went of the runway in Canada, then a turboprop regional aircraft crashes into the water in Europe and it ends with Greece incident.

The day after our dinner, I was called up to do a single nightstop flight to Sandakan. I brought up the issue about the article to my captain to see his point of view. He said simply that "accidents or incidents are bound to happen". I could not get what that really meant at first. Then, later he said, "...aircrafts are machines, they're bound to fail one day, its just a question of which aircraft type, what company, when and where." Its pretty chilling when he told me that, but after a while, it actually does make sense. We try our best to make every flight safe. Some might argue with me that we could improve the machine, but look at the Titanic. Even the best training in the world could not safe us from meeting our creator.

Having said that, it does not mean that air travel is unsafe. No! Its still safer than driving on the highway. Safety programs by airlines all over the world has help reduce accidents and incidents. However, humans make mistakes and so does machines. It helps brings us back down to earth sometimes, especially when all of a sudden, life is precious again. By the way, just when we're talking about this topic, I managed to catch this picture (above) from my office window.....

(p.s. - thanx for all your comments guys/gals)

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