Q – Love the site, and forgive you your occasional spelling errors .I wonder if you can answer a question I’ve never seen addressed by travel folks. Are some aircraft safer than others? Are 747’s more dangerous, for example, then smaller. more maneuverable planes? Aren’t larger planes, like the 747, more likely to head into bad weather while small planes generally go around it? Just wondering of there are is any information out there on this subject. We fly a lot and we’ll keep flying, no matter what, but I like to know if I should go smaller or bigger if given the chance.
A – You are far off base on the 747. Based on miles actually flown, this is one of the safest auircraft in aviation history. Where the statistics become meaningful is when you look at really smaller jets and prop planes. The fact is that aircraft that carry thirty or fewer passengers have a fatality rate that is about three times that of larger jets.Now, when we look at the safety records of the most popular jet types used commercially, the big boys, we find very insignificant safety discrepencies based on aircraft type. Two of the safest airlines on record, for instamce, are Quantas, which now flies the 380 and the 747, and Southwest which flies the considerably smaller 737 exclusively. Some of us who write about this stuff have been surprised that the public did not react at all when smaller twin engine aircraft like the 767 and the 777 started flying long distance Atlantic and Pacific routes. But the fact is that safety experts now rate the new engines so highly that thefre is little appreciable difference between crossing the ocean in a four-engine versus a two-engine aircraft from a safety point of view. The spelling errors are deliberate – we want to be sure you are following us and we like to remind you that this site is maintained by humans.