Does a blown A380 engine prove just how safe flying is?

The engine on a Qantas A380 blew up just as the plane was taking off from Singapore recently.

There’s been much speculation that Qantas’ reputation for safety has been tarnished because of the incident, and that any A380 with Rolls Royce engines could be unsafe.

Following the explosion, the Qantas pilot managed to land the massive plane quite safely, with no loss of life or, indeed, injury to any person.

To me, this signifies that flying is, in fact, a very safe way to travel.  Can you imagine what would happen if the engine on a crowded bus blew up?  There’d be death and carnage – principally because buses have only one engine, and there is no backup in case of emergency.

The flying crew of the Qantas A380 were so well trained, they were able to control the plane and ensure the safety of passengers and crew.  Certainly, the incident caused major inconveniences for those involved, but inconvenience is a lot preferable to death and injury.

As for the reputation of Qantas being tarnished, they maintain the plane (and it had just had major maintenance), and Rolls Royce maintained the engines they built.  If any reputation is tarnished, then surely it should be that of Rolls Royce, which should have been aware of the problem with its engines.

Fatal air crashes, although they still occur, are becoming increasingly rarer, and usually involve third world airlines with poor safety records.  Even if you are unfortunate enough to be on a commercial plane that crashes, your chances of survival are still pretty good – case in point is the US Airways Flight 1549 that landed on New York’s Hudson River, with all passengers surviving, albeit getting a little wet.

To my way of thinking incidents, such as the Qantas A380 engine failure, are reasons to celebrate flying, and to recognise that flying is, in fact, the safest form of public transport that we have.

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