Learning from air tragedies

The thought of flying fills some people with trepidation, whereas it thrills others. Aircraft crashes grip the human attention much more than any other form of disaster. However, aircraft crashes are not as common as one may think; they are just more widely reported.

Aviation is broadly divided into two classifications: Commercial and general aviation. Commercial aviation encompasses scheduled flights by airlines and general aviation (including aerial work) groups all the rest. Commercial air travel is the safest means of transportation. It beats all other modes of transport in safety, irrespective of the indicator used. General aviation is marginally less safe, but still much safer than other modes of transportation. Commercial aviation aircraft in Nairobi typically use Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) whereas Wilson is the premier airport for general aviation.

When reports of a “missing” aircraft that was initially scheduled to land at Wilson first filtered through, all prayed for a safe outcome for the crew and passengers. Many, however, braced themselves for the worst. No one realistically expects a plane in a one-hour flight to be still aloft after the passage of several hours.