Is Horizon Airlines safe?

Old Mar 24, 15, 3:38 pm
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Is Horizon Airlines safe?

I have to fly on Friday from Oakland to Portland on Horizon Air, which is part of Alaska. Both my flights are on old propeller planes! I've never flown in a propeller plane before and I've never flown Alaska before. Now I'm wondering if anyone has experience with this airline and plane? I think its the Dash or something. Sounds dangerous and old fashioned. Also to make matters worse that plane crash today is not helping my nerves. I mean...that was a big jet that crashed for no reason with experienced pilots, for an airline that was safe. I'm starting to get super nervous. I heard they put the least experienced/training pilots on the regionals and propeller planes.
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Old Mar 24, 15, 3:44 pm
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QX is a fun airline with great staff (both pilots and flight attendants). The airline has a very clean safety record with only one incident with the Bombardier Dash-8 Q400.

IMHO the Dash-8 is one of the best turboprops out there, and have no qualms flying QX.

The airline also completed the International Air Transport Association's Operational Safety Audit (of which its been audited every other year since 2006, with the audit program being started in 2003).

Last edited by OO-SLC-CR9; Mar 24, 15 at 3:52 pm Reason: Added IOSA
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Old Mar 24, 15, 3:46 pm
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I don't know why there is such fear over propeller driven aircraft. They are operated as safely as jet aircraft.

And it's loads safer to fly OAK-PDX on Horizon than to drive.
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Old Mar 24, 15, 3:50 pm
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Originally Posted by 98103 View Post
I don't know why there is such fear over propeller driven aircraft. They are operated as safely as jet aircraft.

And it's loads safer to fly OAK-PDX on Horizon than to drive.
My fear is because they put the new/training pilots on propeller planes. You have to have more experience to fly a jet. I mean if people take flying lessons they start out on propeller planes. There was a colgan airlines propeller plane that crashed 5 or 6 years ago because the pliots didn't know what they were doing (the copilot was 24 years old, and the captain had failed competency tests). If I could have gotten a jet I would have but the budget I'm working under wouldn't allow me to.
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Old Mar 24, 15, 3:55 pm
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Originally Posted by 98103 View Post
I don't know why there is such fear over propeller driven aircraft. They are operated as safely as jet aircraft.

And it's loads safer to fly OAK-PDX on Horizon than to drive.
They are jet aircraft, they use modern turbine engines like any other airliner. Turboprops just have props instead of enclosed fans. Forces them to go a tad slower but makes them more fuel efficient.

Horizon fleet is fairly new, they are still get factory fresh aircraft. Nothing old fashioned about them. Safety is pretty much the same across the industry, type of aircraft or airline (including pilot experience) has no measurable impact on safety statistics.

Q-400 is a nice plane, enjoy the flight, worry about the drive to the airport
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Old Mar 24, 15, 3:59 pm
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Originally Posted by orbit82 View Post
I have to fly on Friday from Oakland to Portland on Horizon Air, which is part of Alaska. Both my flights are on old propeller planes! I've never flown in a propeller plane before and I've never flown Alaska before. Now I'm wondering if anyone has experience with this airline and plane? I think its the Dash or something. Sounds dangerous and old fashioned. Also to make matters worse that plane crash today is not helping my nerves. I mean...that was a big jet that crashed for no reason with experienced pilots, for an airline that was safe. I'm starting to get super nervous. I heard they put the least experienced/training pilots on the regionals and propeller planes.
I find it hard to divine the nexus between an A320 crashing over the French Alps and having the same tragic event happen on a QX turboprop. There is a reason the big jet crashed - investigators have yet to get to the bottom of it. But they will.

The QX pilots are held to the same standards as those who fly jet aircraft. Their training is just as rigorous and they are just as proficient.

You appear to have survived your trip to CPH back in '08 (presuming you took it). Why worry about a relatively short flight on a modern and safe turboprop? They serve free wine and beer, have your choice and enjoy the trip!
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Old Mar 24, 15, 4:06 pm
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Originally Posted by orbit82 View Post
My fear is because they put the new/training pilots on propeller planes. You have to have more experience to fly a jet. I mean if people take flying lessons they start out on propeller planes. There was a colgan airlines propeller plane that crashed 5 or 6 years ago because the pliots didn't know what they were doing (the copilot was 24 years old, and the captain had failed competency tests). If I could have gotten a jet I would have but the budget I'm working under wouldn't allow me to.
Pilots start out in piston powered aircraft as it's much cheaper. Yes they have propellers, but that's where the similarities end with aircraft like the Q-400. Unless you are already wealthy, no pilot could afford to start taking lessons in a turbine powered aircraft.

Airline pilots are well trained, educated and highly skilled. No reason to doubt their competency as a passenger. Unfortunately pilots are still human, and no matter the amount of reduncy, rules, regulations, etc there is, problems do happen. It's just so infrequent that if anything does happen, it's big news when it does. In reality there really isn't anything you could be doing that is safer than flying.
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Old Mar 24, 15, 4:08 pm
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Compare the number of times those planes make it to their destinations safely, compared to the number of accidents you can find information about. I'd say you're going to be fine.
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Old Mar 24, 15, 4:09 pm
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Originally Posted by orbit82 View Post
My fear is because they put the new/training pilots on propeller planes. You have to have more experience to fly a jet. I mean if people take flying lessons they start out on propeller planes. There was a colgan airlines propeller plane that crashed 5 or 6 years ago because the pliots didn't know what they were doing (the copilot was 24 years old, and the captain had failed competency tests). If I could have gotten a jet I would have but the budget I'm working under wouldn't allow me to.
Knowing someone who's currently in flight school, most of the regional airlines are similar, and there isn't necessarily an experience different between jet and prop drivers. That being said, at least anecdotally, Horizon (and Alaska) seem to be be some of the more desired and difficult airlines to be hired by. So, they get to pick the some of the best candidates, so you're not getting inexperienced pilots. Also, new pilots have a 1500 hour minimum to get hired, so they've done a fair share of flying before they'll be at the command of your flight.
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Old Mar 24, 15, 4:19 pm
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Horizon is just fine.

The Q400 is actually pretty nice for short flights - quick load/unload, quick takeoff, quick service with free beer and wine, etc.

Horizon has a great safety record; they have over 112,000 departures a year and carry millions of people without incident. No need to worry. Enjoy the flight!
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Old Mar 24, 15, 4:20 pm
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Originally Posted by orbit82 View Post
I have to fly on Friday from Oakland to Portland on Horizon Air, which is part of Alaska. Both my flights are on old propeller planes!
You can buy these aircraft new from the factory. They are not old.

Some on jets flying in north america are 25 years old ands older. But that does make them unsafe. They are maintained to the US government standards. You cannot say the same about all airlines in 3rd world countries
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Old Mar 24, 15, 4:20 pm
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I have flown Horizon for many years all over the Northwest. Their crews are as good or better than any other regional ariline. I never have the slighest qualm about flying them. Their aircraft are newer and well maintained. Your fear of propeller aircraft dates back to the 50's and 60's when there was a major difference in aircraft, however, that has not been the case for decades.
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Old Mar 24, 15, 4:22 pm
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Horizon has never had a fatal accident.
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Old Mar 24, 15, 4:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
You can buy these aircraft new from the factory. They are not old.

Some on jets flying in north america are 25 years old ands older. But that does make them unsafe. They are maintained to the US government standards. You cannot say the same about all airlines in 3rd world countries
Horizon's oldest plane is 14 years old, and its newest plane is only a week and a half old. (Source). I've personally flown on their second oldest aircraft currently active, and have flown in their newer a/c as well with not an incident. Even in inclement weather.
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Old Mar 24, 15, 5:08 pm
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Originally Posted by orbit82 View Post
There was a colgan airlines propeller plane that crashed 5 or 6 years ago because the pliots didn't know what they were doing (the copilot was 24 years old, and the captain had failed competency tests). If I could have gotten a jet I would have but the budget I'm working under wouldn't allow me to.
Colgan Air isn't Horizon/Alaska (thank goodness). Making that comparison here is like saying that the drunk driver behind the wheel of a Ford Taurus lost control of the car and skidded off the road and into a tree before they could stop and therefore the Taurus has a problem with skidding, stopping, and hitting trees and is thus unsafe.
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