I would like to respond to the March 25 letter from Debbie Casalie that derided air shows for their "high probability" of danger. While an accident is certainly possible, the probability is very low. No spectators have been killed at an air show in the United States or Canada since 1952. In aviation, as in all forms of transportation, accidents can and sometimes do happen. And that's true whether the operation is in a normal, routine setting or in an exhibition setting such as boat racing, auto racing, or air shows.
It's my contention that Ms. Casalie should know and understand that everyone involved, from the organizers to the Federal Aviation Administration, the performers, to groups such as the International Council of Airshows, work very hard to reduce the probability to as near zero as is humanly possible.
Is an accident possible? Of course it is. Is it probable? No. In fact, it's extremely unlikely. The people who will be flying at the air show are professionals. Some are even "the best of the best." We should be so lucky that all pilots could reach that level of competence. With Ms. Casalie living six miles from an airport, she's at virtually no greater risk than the rest of the U.S. population. Remember, we all have airliners, military jets and a whole variety of aircraft flying above our heads everyday.
My suggestion would be for her to go to the air show and enjoy it. Or better still, become involved with one of the two airshows that Augusta will host this year. That way she can help to insure the safety of the events, personally. That will certainly be much more productive than the "Chicken Little, the sky is falling" approach.
Ed Johnson, North Augusta
(Editor's note: The author is chairman of the Boshears Memorial Fly-In.)
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