Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Suddenly, it seems common that passengers are enduring emergency landings.

Planes are filling up with smoke. Or their engines are failing -- once, recently, with a fatal consequence.

Those who manufacture planes do, however, create machines that are singularly enduring.

They work extremely hard to make them safe and to build in tolerance levels that reflect extreme caution.

One way of understanding how strong commercial planes truly are is to see them on test flights.

There, pilots push them further toward their limits, just to make sure they perform as expected.

A recent example is that of the Airbus A350. Presented at the Berlin Air Show, this plane was sent up in somewhat stormy conditions.

This didn't seem to trouble the pilots, who sent it straight up in the air on an almost vertical path.

The ease with which the plane seems to take on such apparently extreme flying is truly astonishing.

After all, this is a widebody jet, capable of carrying more than 300 passengers.

It's not exactly an aerobatics machine.

Of course, one problem with some airlines is that they push these planes toward their limits on a daily basis and might cut a corner or two on maintenance.

Moreover, when it comes to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, this seems to have endured more than the normal number of problems with its engines.

Indeed, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Dreamliner pilots have had their flight paths restricted so that they stay within one hour of an airport.

Yet the basic design of planes has undoubtedly become sturdier, more fuel efficient and safer.

This won't reassure everyone. Bad things do happen. 

Never underestimate, however, how much designers of these planes think about safety.

Published on: May 12, 2018