Surviving a plane crash -- what are the odds? Take the quiz.


Despite common reassurances that flying is among the safest methods of transportation, even seasoned travelers often find flying a stressful experience. Take our quiz to test your knowledge of air travel safety!

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Question 1 of 20

Where should you sit on a plane to maximize your chances of surviving a crash?

in the front
in the middle
in the back

... A 2007 report by Popular Mechanics found that people sitting in the rear of the plane are more likely to survive than those seated in other parts of the plane.


Question 2 of 20

The movie Alive (1993) is based on a 1972 crash in this region, which left survivors no choice but to resort to cannibalism.

the Himalayas
the Rockies
the Andes

... The movie "Alive" tells the story of a plane crash in the Andes that occurred in 1972.


Question 3 of 20

When is a plane most likely to crash?

when flying long distances over water
during mid-air turbulence
during takeoff and landing

... The vast majority of plane crashes occur during takeoff, initial climb, runway approach, or landing.


Question 4 of 20

What is the most common cause of death after the initial impact?

fire and smoke
falling objects

... If you survive the initial impact of an airplane crash, you should exit the cabin as quickly and calmly as possible. Most deaths after impact are caused by fire or smoke.


Question 5 of 20

What percentage of people who experience a plane crash actually survive?

more than 95 percent
around 60 percent
less than 10 percent

... There's a common but false perception that airline crashes tend to kill all passengers. In fact, more than 95 percent of people involved in an accidental plane crash actually survive.


Question 6 of 20

What are the odds that any given flight will be involved in a crash?

1 in 250,000
1 in 1.2 million
1 in 700 million

... Just 1 out of every 1.2 million flights ends in an accident.


Question 7 of 20

How should you position your body during a crash to maximize your odds of survival?

Lean back and cross your arms over your chest.
Lean forward and press your head against the seat in front of you.
Body position has no impact on survival rates.

... Moving into a brace position can help you survive a crash. In this position, you counteract the force of rapid deceleration by pressing your head against the seat back in front of you. It also helps to wrap your hands around the back of your head to prevent your arms from flailing.


Question 8 of 20

How many rows should you be from an exit row to give yourself even odds of making it off of the plane after a crash?

within one row
within five rows
within seven rows

... Those seated within five rows of an exit have a 50/50 shot of making it off the plane in an emergency evacuation. Those seated further away face less appealing odds.


Question 9 of 20

What's the most important thing you can do to maximize your chances of surviving a crash?

be prepared
wear a kevlar vest
help the people around you stay calm

... According to the FAA, the most important thing you can do to improve your odds of surviving a crash is to be aware and prepared for an accident to happen. This includes knowing where the exits are and having a plan for rapid evacuation.


Question 10 of 20

Between 1970 and May 2010, how many air crashes were there in which just a single passenger survived?


... At least 16 plane crashes since 1970 have had just a single survivor, and about half of these survivors were children.


Question 11 of 20

What song immortalized a plane crash that took the lives of Richie Valens, Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper?

"American Pie" by Don McLean
"We're an American Band" by Grand Funk Railroad
"Eight Miles High" by The Byrds

... The 1971 hit "American Pie" immortalized the three rockers killed in a 1959 plane crash in Iowa.


Question 12 of 20

What are the odds that the average American will die in a plane crash?

1 in 11 million
1 in 1.5 million
1 in 320,000

... The odds of dying in a plane crash are 1 in 11 million, while the odds of dying in a car crash are closer to 1 in 5,000.


Question 13 of 20

What device within a plane captures flight data that can help investigators determine the cause of a crash?

the GPS unit
the black box
the flight simulator

... The "black box" is actually orange in most cases. It is a protected device that records everything that happens in the cockpit during a flight. After a crash, investigators often seek out the black box to find out just what went wrong.


Question 14 of 20

What is the aviation term for a forced water landing?


... A forced water landing, or ditching, offers a 90 percent survival rate.


Question 15 of 20

What term do pilots use to describe the 11 most dangerous minutes of a flight?

Plus Three / Minus Eight
Pre- and post-11
T and l/11

... The term "Plus Three / Minus Eight" refers to the take-off and landing phase -- the first three minutes of the flight and the last eight minutes -- which is when most accidents occur.


Question 16 of 20

How many people were killed when a US Airways flight was forced to land in the Hudson River in May 2010?

all but one passenger
about half of those onboard

... More than 150 passengers survived a landing in the Hudson in May 2010, known as the “Miracle on the Hudson.”


Question 17 of 20

What percentage of plane crashes have one or more survivors?

more than 90 percent
about 50 percent
less than 10 percent

... Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of plane crashes have one or more survivors.


Question 18 of 20

How long is the "golden" time window after a crash when you are most likely to make it off the plane alive?

90 seconds after impact
3 minutes after impact
12 minutes after impact

... Survivors should focus on exiting the plane within 90 seconds after a crash to maximize their odds of survival. After this period, the risk of death from smoke and fire becomes much greater.


Question 19 of 20

More than 300 people survived a fiery 2005 Air France crash in this Canadian city, leading many to describe it as a miracle.


... When a 2005 Air France flight overshot the Toronto runway and caught fire, the situation looked grim. Amazingly, 309 passengers survived, leading the incident to be known as the "Toronto Miracle."


Question 20 of 20

Are you really more likely to be in a fatal car crash than to experience a fatal plane crash?

Your odds of a car and plane crash are about the same.

... You are 15 times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash than a fatal accident on a commercial airliner.


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