Although I do not fly very often, I feel that every time I enter a plane I become extremely anxious. Every flight that I’ve been on since I was little has brought forth much anxiousness. It’s a bit of an adrenaline rush as the plane takes off and lands. But once I’m in the air, that’s when my concern starts. To me, it’s a fear of the unknown. There is not ground below you; no safe place to go to immediately if something were to happen while you are thousands of feet from the nearest bit of land below you.
The seventh chapter of Outliers, “The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes”, didn’t make this fear and anxiety about flying any better. The details and statistics about flying made it seem so unsafe, and a more nerve-racking experience. Such as: “In 52 percent of crashes, the pilot at the time of the accident has been awake for twelve hours or more…And 44 percent of the time, the two pilots have never flown together before…” (184). These statistics make flying a more unsettling experience; knowing that your pilot may not been as awake and alert as the passengers hope they would be. Also knowing the pilots are not necessarily comfortable with one another makes for an uneasy mind as a passenger.
Even though the facts and statistics about flying made things a bit scarier, it also opened up a new respect for pilots and the work that goes into their job. Gladwell didn’t just talk about the tragedy of crashes, but he wrote of how the pilots had to deal with the trials and tribulations of flying. This made me connect back to Miracle on the Hudson. Pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger was a remarkable man who was just doing his job, keeping the passengers on board the plane safe. I like to think that all pilots would act in the same manner as pilot Chesley Sullenberger, but according to Gladwell this doesn’t necessarily occur, like with Caviedes and Klotz.