Theory of Knowledge Essay

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To what extent do our senses create the sense of safety and fear? Relating this to aviation, how certain are we that flying is the safest means of transport available? Over time, we have witnessed that the number of accidents related to air transport as compared to other means of transport, are significantly fewer. Though there may be a nearly 100% fatality rate when an air crash occurs, according to Jessica Morris, the percentage of accidents that occur in air transports averages at 0.07%, which makes it significantly lower than any other (Morris). Other means of transport, for example motorcycles, experience up to 212% in accidents per billion passenger miles. Water transport is 3.7% per billion passenger miles. What makes air transport this safe is the meticulous nature of all the safety procedures undertaken by both the passengers as well as the staff. This is in contrast to means such as road transport whose safety measures are not as stringent as air transport. Water transport and rail as well may have high safety standards, but they do not measure up to those taken in air transport.

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Air transport is the safest means of transport because of the exemplary high levels of professionalism employed in the field. Airlines go to extreme measures of training each and every individual personnel in their staff teams. Alexander T. Wells builds up the Aviation safety standards on the 5-M model, that is Man, Machine, Medium, Mission and Management. A law was established, according to the department of commerce, the regulatory authority over commercial aviation. In addition to that, other pieces of information that were termed as being crucial were to be made available to the pilots, this primarily including weather information. New offices were established, strictly to handle matters regarding aviation safety (Wells). An understanding of this by an individual will well contribute to them feeling much safer in an airplane as opposed to being on a motorcycle, knowing the high risks there are of accidents. In a similar light, there always is a passenger safety briefing, in accordance with Nabil Diab, they may not be as clear to some of the passengers, however, there are adequate flight attendants that help in making the instructions easier to understand and follow through. The presence of professional flight attendants in the flights also contribute to the sense of safety experienced by airplane passengers (Diab). Peter C. Brown gives a detail on aspects regarding the growth and spread of equipping airports with fire engines in the case of emergencies. Shoreham airport has been providing fire engines since the early flying days for over ninety years. It was not until the 1920’s that the culture gained popularity. In comparison to other transport means that are applied, provision of firefighting services has not been much of a priority in each and every terminal as is the case in each and every airport and airstrip. (Brown). The idea of a fire outbreak strikes a chord in terms of sparking fear in plane passengers thus mitigation measures to tackle fire incidences both on the ground and within the aircraft contribute to the creation of a sense of wellbeing.

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In the same light, air transport is deemed safer because of the quality of technology that is applied in the field. For example, in the United States, the FAA(Federal Aviation Authority) and the airlines jointly have the mandate to ensure that the research and technological advancements are well funded and are in compliance with the federal aviation regulations (DIANE Publishing). William D. Siuru and Jon D. Busick give an in-depth exploration into the technological advancements that are currently under development in the field of aviation. From aspects such as aerodynamics, avionics, propulsion systems and materials, to aspects as intricate as the incorporation of artificial intelligence in the aviation field (Siuru and Busick). This, however, is not to disregard the technological advancements that are being made in other transportation fields such as rail transport. With the development of electric trains as well as in the road transport scene. For example, in the automobile industry, certain advancements have been made that go beyond looking into only the safety of the people in terms of accident aversion, the automobile field has, for a long time, been looking into ways in which it can provide green transport. This is in regard to rising concerns about the pollution rates in the environment. Green transport advancements have been made and this looks out for the safety of the people in terms of their health and wellbeing as in accordance with S.N. Jha (Jha). Nonetheless, it is not to say that air transport is not making leaps and bounds into developing green fuel for the aircraft’s consumption. Though not many will go through the pain of fully understanding the legal and technological framework governing aircraft, the confidence in the system that is displayed by those with the knowledge play a role in the feeling of safety and security by the users of the transport means.

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It is therefore clear that our perception on the safety measures taken in regard to air transport is much a contributor to a safer sense of feeling as in comparison to other means of transport available. This is not only as a result of the rigorous training and the technological advancements that have and are still being made in the field, but also because of the knowledge and confidence exhibited by the personel and the assurance of safety by the freight services as well as for some other reasons such as there being no room for reckless flying due to the extremely high levels of professionalism applied by the pilots and the engineers, the very meticulous legal framework that is in charge of governing the transport field among other factors. Unfortunately, this means of transport is out of reach for the majority due to simply how much it costs to use aviation as a means of transport. Other than providing the feeling of safety better than in other means of transport, aviation is the most expensive, therefore, not many are able to afford the luxury and safety in aircraft transport.

Air transport, nevertheless, is not the safest in terms of survival rates in case of an accident or a plane crash. This, unfortunately, has a large population feeling unsafe and insecure whenever they have to use air transport to move from place to place. Contributors include statistics on such air crash summaries as on August 19th 1980, Saudia flight 163 caught fire after takeoff from Riyadh international airport on its way to Jeddah. The consequent number of fatalities due to the occurrence was a jaw dropping 301. This was all the passengers on board the flight seeing as there were no survivors. 287 passengers and 14 crew members on board (Lewis). Another fatal crash was the Kenya Airways flight 431, an international flight scheduled Abidjan-Lagos-Nairobi. The plane crashed into the sea off the coast of Côte d’Ivoire. This was 30th January 2000. The number of deaths in the crash was 169, the injured survivors were 10 (Aigbe). The crash summary stated the cause of the crash was a combination of electrical fault and pilot error. With information reaching the public, a sense of fear is created in potential users of the transport means. Some may choose to forfeit traveling by flight.

It is therefore evident that the sense of safety and security created in air transport plays a big role in the confidence the public has in the same and the knowledge that one will arrive at their destination in one piece. Nevertheless, there are a number of fatalities that are associated with it and the chances of survival are less than those of fatalities in the case of an air crash which instill a sense of fear in the public. In comparison to other means of transport, however, what qualifies air transport as the safest is the percentage of accidents per billion passenger miles, which is at an all-time low of 0.07% as I had stated earlier in the paper. A knowledge of such a percentage would considerably change people’s perception of air transport.

In conclusion, the knowledge that air transport is the safest means of transport available in the current time is important in creating the sense of safety in passengers and increasing the popularity of the transport means. Our senses do create a large part of our feeling safe and secure or scared.

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  1. Aigbe, Samuel. A Plane Crash Survivors Miraculous True Story: Kenya Airways Flight KQ 431: 169 Fatalities, 10 Survivors.
  2. Brown, Peter C. Shoreham Airport: An Illustrated History. Amberley Publishing Limited, 2015.
  3. Diab, Nabil. The Pre-Flight Safety Briefing – What are the Reasons for Some Passengers’ Lack of Attentiveness during Pre-Flight Safety Briefing? Munchen: München GRIN Verlag GmbH 2011, 2011.
  4. DIANE Publishing. Aviation safety advancements being pursued to improve airliner cabin occupant safety and health. Washington: DIANE Publishing, 2003.
  5. Jha, S. N. A Text of Automobile Technology: For Class 9. Goyal Brothers Prakashan, 2013, 2013.
  6. Lewis, Jack. Worst Plane Crashes in History. Masterlab, 2014, 2014.
  7. Morris, Jessica. City A.M. 15 May 2015. article. 5 December 2017.
  8. Siuru, Willian D. and John D. Busick. Future Flight: The Next Generation of Aircraft Technology. Blue Ridge: Blue Ridge Summit, PA : TAB/AERO, 1993., 1993.
  9. Wells, Alexander T. Commercial aviation safety. New York: New York : McGraw-Hill, ©2001., 2001.
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