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Plane common sense

Fear of flying doesn't make make sense when you compare it to the other risks we take in life.

Most of us feel slightly anxious as we board an aircraft. Fear of flying is a common thing, and incidents such as this week's crash at San Francisco airport underscore the dread many passengers feel. However, this story should have had the opposite effect.

The significant thing about the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 is not that - tragically - two people died, but that the other 305 people on board survived. It was the first recorded fatal accident involving a Boeing 777, an aircraft model that came into service 18 years ago.

Aviation experts say that every accident that does occur improves the overall safety of flying - because information gleaned from these events is shared among airlines, aircraft manufacturers and authorities worldwide, and steps are taken to avoid a repeat incident.

Despite that fact that the numbers of airlines, planes and passengers have increased dramatically over the decades, last year was, statistically, the safest year for commercial aviation since 1945.

If you really want something to worry about at 30,000 feet, check the fat content of your airline meal. Only about 1 in 1.2 million flights crash, and even then 95 per cent of passengers survive. But the odds of dying from a heart attack are 1 in 5.

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