Statistically, the airplane remains much safer than other means of transportation, including the car. But the bad news that shook the airline industry in the past year and a half has certainly not helped lessen the fear many have to fly.
More than 500 people died in air crashes in 2018, compared to 59 fatalities a year earlier, according to statistics from the Aviation Safety Network, an aviation enthusiasts’ website that collects data on air crashes available from official and other available databases world.
The number of deaths recorded by the ASN as of July 1 of that year has amounted to 212, including private and commercial flights.
Despite these figures, however, the odds of dying in an air crash remain extremely low: from 1 in 1.3 million in the worst case, according to calculations by MIT professor Arnold Barnett.
‘I will fall?’
But the odds are even smaller in regions such as the United States, the European Union and even China, where on average, according to Barnett’s estimates, a person can take a plane every day for 90,000 years without suffering a fatal accident.
Is this the bet of “Am I Going Down?” (I’m Falling?), One of several new mobile applications to combat aerophobia.
The application, available on iTunes for $ 2.99, says to calculate the accident probabilities of 10 million specific routes. The idea is that the resulting information has a calming effect.
The probability of an accident on any flight between Heathrow, London and Miami airports, for example, is 1 in 4,998,290. “If you catch the flight every day, you would expect, on average, 13,693 years to fall,” This is the message that the application would show to calm the user down.
“Therapist on board”
The “Valk Fear of Flying” app, developed by the Valk Foundation in the Netherlands, in collaboration with KLM, Air France, Leiden University and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, would also give a similar message.
For iOS, the app costs $ 3.99 ($ 15.15); for Android, $ 4.79 ($ 18.18).
Conceived as a “personal flight therapist,” the English-only application also offers weather forecasts and possible turbulence, as well as guiding the user through a series of stress-fighting exercises.
The application also includes a “panic button” that activates an automatic therapist to assist the user in times of increased anxiety.
‘Next to the captain’
The idea that information can calm us down is also behind SkyGuru, which provides real-time explanations of what’s happening on the flight.
The application, free of charge, analyzes weather and possible turbulence and provides advice and predictions on what to expect from takeoff to landing.
A paid version uses smart cell sensors to explain unusual sounds, airplane maneuvers, and sensations experienced during the flight.
Users commonly describe the experience as “traveling seated next to the captain”. But this version, more expensive ($ 19.99, or $ 75.88) is only available in English and Russian.
A combination of these services can also be accessed through applications such as Turbcast, SOAR (where a pilot explains everything you need to know about airplanes and flights) and “Overcome the Fear of Flying”. Fear of Flying, which offers hypnosis sessions).
The application is called ANA Take off Mode, it is free, and bets on distracting the user with immersive games so that the passenger simply remembers that he is flying, taking off or landing.