Holistic Survival
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HS 121 – Why Planes Crash with David Soucie

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David Soucie

Airplane safety has improved significantly, but there are improvements that can still be made to remove the fear that many people feel when boarding a plane. Author Dave Soucie joins Jason Hartman on this episode to talk about advances in safety and what still needs to be done. The biggest concern today is complacency, while the biggest improvement has been the implementation of Aviation Safety Information Analysis & Sharing (ASIAS), which allows for the exchange of information on precursors that may cause accidents down the road. David’s take on this is that there is a lot of room for improvement yet. He states that even the passengers are part of the safety system, stressing they need to be aware and if they see something concerning, be bold and speak up. David describes the FAA’s responsibilities and the standard regulations around the world. He also talks about the importance of the TSA, not disregarding blatant overstepping by some TSA agents, but the necessity of keeping airspace safe.

There have been many horrific airline crashes and David tells the stories behind those crashes. The way accidents are most often looked at is pilot error. But David asks the question, what caused the problem in the first place that resulted in a pilot needing to troubleshoot? The initial cause can be critical, such as faulty equipment that the airline companies know need to be replaced, but choose not to do immediately.  David and Jason close with general aviation tips and advice. Airplane crashes may be rare, but they do happen, and they’re usually fatal.  David Soucie insists that most of these deaths could be prevented.

Soucie’s worked in the cockpit, on the hanger floor, within the aviation boardroom, and inside the Washington D.C. beltway.  He’s seen death up close and personal ─ deaths of colleagues and friends that might have been prevented if he had approved certain safety measures in the aircraft they were handling.  This memoir is a gripping description of what Soucie saw and experienced as he worked in the aviation industry.  He’s now focused on understanding the hazards and risks of air travel.  As such, he is a regular consultant on the topic, from advising the Obama administration on airline safety management systems to taking a leading role as industry representative in the congressionally funded NextGen interdepartmental initiative to examine the challenges of aviation in the near future, not only for the Department of Transportation, but also for the departments of defense and Homeland Security, NASA, and the Office of National Intelligence. Since leaving the FAA in 2006, Soucie has analyzed nearly every major air disaster.  From January 2007 to June 2010, there were 240 commercial airplane accidents, 28 crashes on scheduled airlines that resulted in 1,795 deaths.

Episode: 120

Guest: David Soucie

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Download: MP3

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