The September 8 crash of USAir Flight 427 outside Pittsburgh killed 132 people, making it the worst U.S. airline accident in over five years. Despite the disaster, however, airplane safety, whether measured as a function of trips taken or miles traveled, remains at near- perfect levels. For the years 1983-93 (the last full year for which data are available), the rate of fatal accidents per 100,000 departures has ranged between 0.012 and 0.087, for an average of 0.044. This year's ratio is likely to be below that average.
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