Air Safety

June 25, 1976

Report Outline
New Concern Over the Airways
Federal Regulation of Aviation
Outlook for Passenger Safety
Special Focus

New Concern Over the Airways

Public Unease From Recent Safety Reports

As the number of planes increases and the nation's airways and airports become more congested, more people are turning their attention to the question of air safety. Last year, the United States experienced the lowest death toll from aircraft accidents since 1957—124 deaths in three fatal crashes. In the background, however, were 269 reported instances of air collisions being narrowly averted—“near misses”—which raised the question of whether adequate safety precautions were being taken on the ground and in the cockpit.

Government officials in charge of making the nation's airways safe emphasize that the United States has the safest air traffic control system in the world. According to Federal Aviation Administrator John McLucas, 10 times as many people died in their bathtubs during 1975 as died flying in commercial airplanes. The consequences of one airplane accident can be tragic and nightmarish, however, and for this reason air safety is a concern of everyone who flies. A survey done by the Gallup organization in 1975 indicated that one-half of the adult population had flown that year.

Running through any discussion of air safety is the problem of definition. “It's all philosophical,” said Curtis McKay, chief of the Federal Aviation Administration's Air Carrier Division, in an interview with Editorial Research Reports. “Safety is relative.” Many experts feel the FAA, which is responsible for operating the national airway system, has been lax in exercising its safety duties. The FAA, on the other hand, argues that all certified planes and airports have met federal standards and none is unsafe.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Air Transportation
Jan. 18, 2019  Airline Industry Turbulence
May 15, 2015  Airline Safety
Oct. 18, 2013  Domestic Drones
Mar. 07, 2008  Future of the Airlines
Jun. 21, 2002  Future of the Airline Industry
Sep. 24, 1999  Airline Industry Problems
Oct. 08, 1993  Airline Safety
Oct. 24, 1986  Airline Deregulation
Oct. 19, 1984  Safety in the Air
Nov. 26, 1982  Troubled Air Transport Industry
Jun. 25, 1976  Air Safety
Mar. 21, 1975  Air-Fare Control
Jan. 27, 1971  Future of the Airlines
Sep. 10, 1969  Jumbo Jets: New Travel Era
Feb. 22, 1967  Airport Modernization
Mar. 18, 1964  Supersonic Transport Race
Feb. 07, 1962  Troubles of the Airlines
May 11, 1960  Prevention of Air Accidents
Sep. 17, 1958  Safety in the Air
May 23, 1956  Jet Age Problems
May 20, 1953  Safer Flying
Feb. 26, 1947  Air Safety
Jun. 08, 1944  Domestic Air Transportation
Apr. 08, 1944  International Air Transport
Mar. 02, 1939  Transatlantic Air Commerce
Jul. 14, 1927  Commercial Aeronautics
Jun. 20, 1925  Development of Commercial Air Navigation
Air Safety and Security