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Is it dangerous to work on an airplane?

Many people fear flying. When a passenger plane goes down, it's all over the news. In many cases, dozens or even hundreds of people die in the crash. This makes it seem very dangerous.

So what about people who work on airplanes. Are pilots and flight attendants really in one of the most dangerous industries? They have to go up in planes multiple times per week and sometimes multiple times per day. Does that level of exposure mean they are far more likely to get injured or even killed on the job?

The truth about air travel

Let's start by breaking down the myth that air travel is dangerous. Despite the fear a lot of passengers feel, it is statistically one of the safest ways to travel.

For instance, one statistical analysis looked at commercial flights over the United States in 2014. That year, there were roughly 30 million flights. In total, 21 people died in aviation accidents. The odds of being on that flight came in at about 1 in 1.43 million, or a chance of 0.000007.

That's not to minimize what happened to those 21 people. Even with those odds, they did die in these accidents. But it helps to show how uncommon this is.

By comparison, roughly 30,000 people die in car accidents annually in the United States. You may not feel the same fear when you get in your car, but you are massively more likely to get into a deadly car accident than you are to get into a plane crash. It's not even close.

Airline pilots

All that said, those safety rates are for passengers. Pilots and crew members do face extra risks. Some experts have even gone so far as to list being an airline pilot among the most dangerous jobs in the United States.

Why is this? For one thing, many people do not drive for a living. Yes, cars are more dangerous than planes, but you don't face either risk while sitting in your office. Working on a plane does elevate your chances of experiencing a serious accident. That doesn't change just because something else is more dangerous.

You also have to keep in mind that airline workers face risks outside of accidents. For instance, some studies have found that they have higher skin cancer rates. Some have determined that they often suffer from deep vein thrombosis. You cannot ignore these risks and other injury risks just because they do not make it into the fatality statistics.

After an injury

Did you get hurt while working in the aviation industry, or did you lose a loved one on the job? If so, you need to know what rights you have to compensation.

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