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Home > Fear of Flying > Capt Sully: “It is important not to define safety as an absence of accidents…”
Capt Sully: “It is important not to define safety as an absence of accidents…”
Flying - Fear of Flying
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 03:31

How Safe is Flying?

Hi Captain Lim,

I am Keith from Singapore. My school has organised a trip to Taiwan but my parents did not allow me to go at first. However, after much persuasion, she changed her mind. That was before the MH17 crash. (My deepest condolences to the lost lives)

After MH 17 crashed, she started to develop this fear of me going abroad (which I have done once by myself and many times with my family) She said she was very worried as she thought something could happen to me

I have read your book, Life In The Skies and I assured her about the safety about flying you have written in your book but my mom still have that fear in her...

Please help me.

And one more thing, when I grow up I really want to become a pilot like you then retire and become a "pilot teacher"

Could you please give me some insight on what you learn when you undergo the pilot training.

Thank you


Hi Keith,

I know MH17 was unfortunate and has caused the general travellers to become more apprehensive about flying. What you could do is to reassure your Mum that flying is safe. I know it is difficult to convince some, as to them, it is completely irrational to talk about it in the light of the many news reports on air accidents.

To me, flying is safe not only from statistics but also from my experience and many of my flying colleagues.

I know that the general reports about flying fears indicate that one of every three adult is either anxious or afraid to fly. However, the majority of fearful fliers do not consider flying unsafe, but avoid flying in order to escape the emotions experienced when they fly.

That said, my advice is to convince your mum that everything we do in life has some degree of risk - going to the supermarket, having a shower at home or even having a stroll by the beach (besides rows of coconut trees!) Similarly, flying has that small risk involved but I feel safer flying than driving on the road. In Malaysia alone,  the road safety statistics reveals that about 19 people are killed on the road each day. That is around 6930 fatalities a year in a country with a population of around 30 million people.

As Captain ‘Sully’ (Sullenberger), the hero who saved 155 lives in the A320 Hudson River crash in New York said, “It is important not to define safety as an absence of accidents…” An accident-free world only exists in the imagination.

Resources about flying and pilot training are found in my website www.askcaptainlim.com Take your time to browse or trawl through the more than 1000 FAQ.

US Airways Airbus A320 Crash Landing in the Hudson River-


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