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The Airline Pilots Look at Safety
Captain William W. Moss
Air Line Pilots Association

Introduction

Safety of airline transportation is important in a great many ways, the most important of which is the moral responsibility to the traveling public. In this paper, however, a narrower and more personal viewpoint will be examined, that of the active airline pilots.

Safety to a pilot is extremely important in a personal sense. As the "man out front" he is vitally concerned with his own survival as well as with his primary assigned responsibility for the safety of his passengers and crew. He is also vitally affected by the impact of safety on his own airline particularly and the industry in general. His employment security, his opportunities for promotion, his pay, his choice of domicile, and his working conditions in general are all affected by the impact of the level of safety on the public's demand for air transportation. The effect of accidents is hard to judge but the following is typical.

On a flight the day after a well publicized non-scheduled crash recently, the author had the opportunity to talk 

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extensively with the small numbers of passengers aboard. During the conversations it developed that a significant percentage were nervous about the flight, and several mentioned that they had almost cancelled their reservations in favor of going by boat. How many of the empty seats were due to this cause is hard to determine, but Lederer (1) has said:

"The traffic department of another large airline, after studying its variation of traffic with accidents, concludes that the effects of a well publicized accident or series of accidents are felt for about two months. It results in an average loss of 10% in passenger revenue during this period. This loss, at present levels of traffic, would amount to $1,700,000 for this one airline."

This form of measurement, however, touches only the effect on those who already travel by air. It takes little or no account of the potential air travelers who, because of fear, have never set foot in an airplane. It is a reasonable guess that the horizons of air transportation could be broadened considerably by a marked improvement in the safety record.

The Past and Present
In assessing safety, it is necessary to know where we are and where we have been. Figure 1, "Accidents and Fatal Accidents

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