Opinion Piece on Article: Focus on Accident Prevention Key to Future Airline Safety

Published: 2021-07-19
669 words
3 pages
6 min to read
Harvey Mudd College
Type of paper: 
Critical thinking
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Air transport has both merits and demerits that operators have to balance for effectiveness in the industry. For instance, aircraft travel offers a quick means of transport over long distances compared to any other means of travel. Despite the fact that air travel is not often prone to accidents, if crashes occur, they are often tragic and lead to loss of many lives on board. Based on the foregoing facts, in Mr. Phillips article Focus on accident prevention key to future airline safety, Mr. Russell focuses on safety projection in the aviation industry based on an assessment of various real time factors. The arguments that Mr. Russell makes in his article follows a particular logical sequence in which he does not only make assertions without providing supporting facts. Although some of the premises on which Mr. Russell makes statements are logically inconsistent with his conclusions, they illuminate some of the areas which are critical in assessing aircraft accidents.

Russell is reasonable in advancing the argument that where fewer aircraft lead to high rates of accidents, there is a likelihood that increased air traffic will result in even higher accident rates unless the causative factors are identified and resolved (Phillips, 1994). He not only focuses on aircraft accident as a problem but also explores various practical ways through which they can be reduced. Despite the soundness of some of his arguments, Russell errs in making statistical projections about the possible number of accidents by the year 2010 (Phillips, 1994). Making any statistical predictions must be grounded on verifiable evidence and strong hypotheses. Therefore, despite the fact that accidents are common today, it does not suffice to posit that the every week they are likely to occur at least once.

Mr. Russell precisely points out the traditional mistakes in the aviation industry that have profoundly contributed to the increased accidents. Consequently, these errors guide further arguments that unless they are corrected, aircraft accidents are likely to increase. Some of the mistakes he elucidates include the causes of an accident, how it can be prevented and accident investigation analysis (Phillips, 1994). In essence, Russell rightly points out that aircraft accidents are fatal if they occur and involve multiple mechanical and human errors that must be proactively identified and resolved to prevent any obvious risks to the lives on board.

One outstanding thing about Russells arguments is that he also enumerates some of the possible approaches that if implemented have a high probability of limiting accident rates of aircraft (Phillips, 1994). For instance, he loathes the effectiveness of probability analysis, assessment of day to day risk factors, evaluate opportunities for accident reduction, and implementing small changes that cumulatively reduce accident rates (Phillips, 1994). Russell appreciates the criticality of aircraft accidents thus highlights the need for creating and implementing prevention strategies that interrupt and thwart the accident process before they reach uncontrollable levels.

In the article, Russell succeeds in classifying the flight process into distinct stages which make it simpler to express the specific risk levels at each stage and appreciate his arguments. For instance, he enlists the stages into take-off, flight into specific areas and landing (Phillips, 1994). He points out that controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) remains the leading cause of airline deaths worldwide. Such specific assessments are necessary for developing specific remedies for reducing accidents.

Though Russell argues that it is important to focus on prevention of aircraft accidents, he balances them with the need to identify specific causes which are important in developing a responsive mechanism (Phillips, 1994). For instance, he enlists some of the reasons as including the flight crew experience, weather forecasting, approach and navigation aids, runway condition and length, domestic or international routes. Through the identification of these causes of aircraft crashes, it is possible to develop actual corrective measures that address each of them. Russell reiterates the stance that there is a need to form a global, regional safety councils that address security issues in air travel.


Phillips, E. H. (1994). Focus on accident prevention key to future airline safety. Aviation Week & Space Technology.

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