Most of the things we believe about airplane accidents are completely wrong. Indeed, most people believe that airplane crashes simply arent survivable. In fact, thats not true.
The greatest aviation tragedies are ingrained in our memories. It's terrible and true: Everyone died in the most infamous crashes. Valujet 592 in the Florida Everglades. TWA 800 in the Atlantic. Swissair 111 in Nova Scotia. EgyptAir 990 over the Atlantic. Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie.
Despite these disasters, the truth about most airplane accidents is that people do survive. In fact, according to the US government, 95.7 percent of the passengers involved in aviation accidents make it out alive. That's right. When the National Transportation Safety Board studied accidents between 1983 and 2000 involving 53,487 passengers, they found that 51,207 survived. That's 95.7 percent. When you exclude crashes in which no one had a chance of surviving - like Pan Am 103 - the NTSB says the survival rate in the most serious crashes is 76.6 percent. In other words, if your plane crashes, you aren't necessarily doomed, just like the passengers on US Air 1549 in the Hudson.
Over all, air travel is extremely safe, but your exact odds really depend on where you're flying. In a nutshell, jet travel in the US is significantly safer than jet travel in the rest of the world, especially less developed countries, according to Professor Arnold Barnett of MIT, one of the world's foremost experts on aviation safety statistics. Your chance of dying on your next flight in the US is one in 35 million, Barnett calculates. If you're traveling internationally in the industrialized or "first" world (i.e. Europe), your chance of dying is one in 10 million. And if you' re flying in the developing or "third" world (i.e. Africa), your chances are one in two million.
To prepare the following resources, the Survivors Club has interviewed plane crash survivors and aviation experts. In just a few minutes, youll learn everything you need to know about the likelihood of a crash and how to improve your survival chances.
As youll see below, we always welcome your ideas and suggestions to make this guide even more helpful to survivors like you.