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It’s just a bit of turbulence — nothing to be concerned about, one aviation expert claims.
Longtime commercial pilot and San Jose State lecturer Scott Miller is out to soothe travelers’ worries in the wake of what’s been three chaotic months of extremely public airline problems.
“I don’t see a rise in the incidents that are occurring,” Miller told TV station KPIX on Sunday. “What I am seeing is increased interest in the incidents that are occurring.”
Last week was an awful one for United Airlines passengers, as a Japan-bound plane from San Francisco made an emergency landing in Los Angeles after a tire fell off during takeoff. On Friday, another United flight rolled off its Houston runway — just weeks after an American Airlines plane skidded from a Rochester tarmac.
Also in Houston last week, a United flight had its engine catch fire before an emergency landing.
4 A United Airlines flight had to make an emergency landing after losing a tire during takeoff last week. ABC7
4 An aviation expert is saying there is no cause for concern in spite of recent flight woes. AP
Specifically addressing the United incidents of the tire and the engine fire, Miller maintained that perspective should shift to the bigger picture.
“Even though it appears United’s [had] a bad week, in reality, everything is working at United Airlines because everyone is able to get back on the ground in one piece,” he said.
“The thing that is even more striking to me than the actual incident itself is that these two rare incidents happened in close proximity of time,” Miller added.
Consumer behavior also seems to remain unfazed in the face of near catastrophe. A February poll found that 71% of Americans believe air travel is either very or somewhat safe despite what have been several dramatic moments in the new year.
4 Longtime commercial pilot and San Jose State lecturer Scott Miller says more scrutiny is being given to airline incidents following a door plug coming off an Alaska Airlines flight in January. AP
Other episodes include a door plug blowing off a midair Alaska Airlines flight in January, which Miller believes spurred the recent attention on airline operations.
Also in January, a Japan Airlines flight burst into aggressive flames and collided with a Coast Guard jet. Five crew members of the Coast Guard flight were killed in the combustion.
A flight that same month in Indonesia saw its pilots fall asleep in midair — the February poll saw 84% of people put their faith in safety in pilots’ capabilities.
In Boston, two JetBlue planes had a ground collision in February, and an early March Alaska Airlines flight had its cargo door — pets were reportedly inside — open as well.
4 Alaska had another issue when a cargo door opened on a recent flight. Reports say pets were inside the area. KOIN6
Another significant incident occurred just Monday, when 50 were injured and bloodied on a New Zealand-bound Boeing jet that dramatically went into a nosedive.
As far as US aviation goes, Miller boasts that we are enjoying the “longest stretch of airline safety in this country,” spanning about two decades. “Even with these incidents, I see that trend continuing.”

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