App Calculates Odds of Fatal Plane Crashes

April 14, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. fatal / ˈfeɪt l/ (adj.) – may cause death
Example: He had suffered a fatal wound.

2. calculate / ˈkæl kyəˌleɪt/ (v.) – to find out using mathematical ways
Example: We need to calculate the current position of the device.

3. odds / ɒdz/ (n.) – the probability that something will happen
Example: The odds of him riding an airplane were pretty low.

4. remote / rɪˈmoʊt/ (adj.) – being very small
Example: His chance of catching the flight was looking remote because of the heavy traffic.

5. improbable /ɪmˈprɒb ə bəl/ (adj.) – not likely to happen
Example: I don’t believe in his story; I find it improbable.


Read the text below.
A new iPhone app shows that the chances of fatal airplane crashes are small despite the number of recent plane crashes.

“Am I Going Down?” is an app that calculates the odds of airplane crashes. The program uses variables from the flight to make its calculations. These variables include the departure and arrival airport of the plane, the airline in charge of the trip, and the airplane itself. The program shows that the odds of a plane crashing are extremely remote—numbering in one out of millions. According to the app, it would take a passenger thousands of years of taking the same flight daily to raise the odds of having a fatal crash.

Unfortunately, the creation and release of the app came at ironic times. The program was created shortly before the Malaysia Airlines crash in 2014. In December 2014, the app was released—a few days after the flight crash of an AirAsia plane.

The developer, Nic Johns, had removed AirAsia airline from the app in response to the incident. AirAsia would be re-listed in a future update of the app.

The developer’s inspiration for creating the app came from Johns’ wife, Julie. Julie has a fear of flying and Nic wanted to show his wife that flying was completely safe. The app’s purpose is to calm the fears of those who feel uncomfortable when riding an airplane. The app was used to show how highly improbable it was for the plane to crash.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think knowing the odds of a plane crash makes air travel safer? Why or why not?
·         Aside from comforting airplane passengers, how else can this app be useful? Please share your thoughts with your tutor.

Discussion B

·         Do you think it is important to support app developers? Why or why not?
·         What daily or ordinary problems were you inspired to solve? Tell your tutor about it.

April 14, 2015