Are You Flying?

When you are on a plane at night getting ready to land and the flight attendants announced that they will dim all the lights and request us to open all the blinds, have you ever wondered what those instructions are for? I have always been curious about as to why should the plane's interior lights be dimmed as I thought the brighter the plane, it would be fairly visible to everyone on the ground that there is a plane coming down and not just some red lights. And at the same time, if the lights are switched off, so why bother to open the blinds since the lights are not seen anyway.

I have asked a few flight attendants, I think the answer I get the most is that, that's the flight instructions and the regulations and we have to follow it. Not the best of all answers obviously. Yesterday I finally got an answer. I was sitting next to a German gentleman and he said that the reasons are a bit morbid. Both are to help passengers and rescurers should the plane crash on landing. By dimming the lights, the passengers' eyes are used to the darkness and if an aircrash happen, the passengers will be able to find their way about. And the blinds - same thing - it is so that rescuers outside can see whether or not there are passengers still sitting trapped in their seats. Now that realy makes you wonder the next time the flight attendants announced that they are switching the lights off.

I was on a flight once and I saw a big family group whose father was an invalid. His children thought that by sitting him in the aisle seat, it would be easier for him to go out if he needs to go to the toilet. Apparently, according to the flight attendants, he is not allowed to sit in the aisle seat. Invalids have to sit near the window. The reason is that they may impede the others if he sat in the aisle seat should a crash happen. I am in two minds about this. By sitting him near the window, it's going to be harder trying to get him out during an emergency. Are we supposed to leave him there or what? I guess the rule is applying extremely cold logic - it is the price of two passengers life as opposed to one invalid passenger.

On my way coming to Juanda Airport at Surabaya, as always being a model plane collector, I love to see all the airplanes and guessing what models they were. However the one sight that stunned me a bit was actually a Lion Air plane that was left by the sides of the runaway which recently crashed two days ago! It must have overrun or skidded along the runaway as the nose of the plane is stuck in the mud. It was a sobering thought and what with all this talk about crashes and so on - it really makes me wonder whether I should reject any overseas meeting from now on.

PS. By the way I checked. The odds of being killed on a single trip on an automobile is 7.6 million to 1 and on an airliner is 52.6 million to 1! We are more likely to die in a car accident than in an airliner. Let's fly!


Anonymous said…
We're probably more likely to die in a car because unlike air travel there isn't a central control tower that strictly dictates what the pilots can and cannot do. With cars, you have to use your own judgement and there's always that crazy driver that thinks he owns the road and acts as if we know exactly what he's going to do.

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