78. Fear of flying

Safety1 is a concern2 of everyone who flies. No other form of transportation is as investigated and monitored as commercial aviation.Yet3 if you decide to hold on to4 the belief5 that flying is dangerous, then these safety facts are lost to you. 

Statistics and figures6  prove airline transportation to be the safest way7 to travel relate to our logical, rational mind8. Worrying about safety go directly to our emotions and you will always find another article about some "near miss"9 or "the crowded skies10" that will reinforce11 your belief.

Most passengers who have knowledge12 of the commercial airline industry believe that flying is safe. But when something occurs13 that we don't understand, any of us can become14 quickly frightened15. That's why16 I encourage you to study as much as you need17 to reassure18 yourself about the industry and to take some of the mystery out of commercial flight.

An airline accident is very rare19, but when some unfamiliar noise20 occurs, your response is "Oh, no! What's wrong?!" Instead21, it can be something like, "I'm not sure22 what that sound was, but there's nothing to worry about23."

Dr. Arnold Barnett, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has done24 extensive research25 in the field of commercial flight safety. He found that over26 the fifteen years between 1975 and 1994, the death risk per flight was one in seven million. 

In fact27, based on this incredible safety record, even if28 you fly every day of your life, probability indicates that it would take29 nineteen thousand years before you die on a fatal accident. 

Based on train accidents over the past twenty years, your chances of dying30 on a train accident are one in a million. Thus31, flying is ten times safer than32 making the trip by train.

What about33 driving, our typical form of transportation? There are approximately forty-seven thousand people killed per year in car accidents.

In 1990, five hundred million airline passengers were transported an average distance34 of eight hundred miles, through35 more than seven million takeoffs36 and landings37, in all kinds of weather conditions38, with a loss39 of only thirty-nine lives. During that same year, forty-six thousand people were killed in car accidents. 

Dr. Barnett of MIT compared the chance of dying from an airline accident versus a driving accident and came to the conclusion that you are nineteen times safer in a plane than in a car.

If you are going to worry about40 dying, there are many more probable ways to die than on a commercial jet. You are more likely41 to die from a bee sting42 than from a commercial flight. The number one killer in the United States is cardiovascular disease43, with about eight hundred and eighty-five thousand deaths per year. 

Each of us44 has about45 a fifty percent (50%) chance of dying of cardiovascular disease. Whenever46 we fly, we have a one one-hundred-thousandth47 of one percent (.00001%) chance of dying!

Next time you begin to focus on the possibility of something going wrong48 on a plane, think about the probability instead49. Then you will have little to worryabout.


1.      Safety = segurança
2.      Concern = preocupação
3.      Yet  = Porém
4.      hold on to = manter, apegar-se a
5.      belief = crença
6.      figures = numerous
7.      the safest way = a forma mais segura
8.      mind = mente
9.      "near miss" = “quase acidente”
10.  crowded skies = céus lotados
11.  reinforce = reforçar
12.  knowledge = conhecimento
13.  occurs = ocorrer
14.  become = tornar-se
15.  frightened = assustado
16.  That's why = é por isso que
17.  as much as you need = tanto quanto você precisar
18.  reassure = tranquilizar, acalmar
19.  rare = raro
20.  unfamiliar noise = barulho desconhecido
21.  Instead = ao inves disso
22.  I'm not sure = não tenho certeza
23.  there's nothing to worry about = Não há nada para se preocupar
24.  has done = tem feito
25.  research = pesquisa
26.  over = ao longo de
27.  In fact = na verdade
28.  even if = mesmo se
29.  it would take = levaria
30.  chances of dying = chances de morrer
31.  Thus = desta forma
32.  ten times safer than = dez vezes mais seguro do que
33.  What about  = E sobre
34.  average distance = distância media
35.  through = através
36.  takeoffs = decolagens
37.  landings = aterrissagens
38.  weather conditions = condições climáticas
39.  loss = perda
40.  worry about = preocupar-se com
41.  more likely = mais provável
42.  bee sting  = picada de abelha
43.  disease = doença
44.  Each of us = cada um de nós
45.  About = aproximadamente
46.  Whenever = sempre que
47.  one-hundred-thousandth = cem milésimos
48.  something going wrong = algo sair errado
49.  instead = ao invés disso