Nightly News | April 16, 2011
>> of sleeping controllers are just some of the unsettling head lines we've been reading lakely about air safety . aviation experts say the latest headlines mask the real story , that many parts of safety is improving. tom costello takes a closer look.
>> reporter: it's been an unsettling few weeks for aviation, ire traffic controllers sleeping on the job while pilots circled.
>> we may just have to land.
>> multiple controllers accused of falling asleep in various towers.
>> this is ridiculous, and i'm not going to sit by and let it happen .
>> reporter: then there was a 737 emergency landing after a five-foot hole opd up in the roof and the a-380 clipping and tossing aside one of the smallest airplanes at jfk.
>> the emergency trucks has been hit by an airplane.
>> reporter: so many close calls and incidents travelers might think flying has suddenly become increasingly dangerous. but in fact experts say taking to the skies has never been safer. the last fatal airline crash occurred more than two years ago when 50 died in a regional airline accident in buffalo. in 2006 , 49 people died when a regional plane crashed in kentucky. but have also been great success stories. december 2008 , everyone survived this crash on the runway in denver, despite intense smoke and fire. as well as this american airlines crash-landing in jamaica and captain sully's miracle on the hudson landing in new york.
>> the possibility of an accident is extremely remote, less than 1 in 2 million.
>> reporter: safety experts like bill voss expert high-tech systems, better training, tougher safety protocols and better built aircraft.
>> the industry and the regulator no longer wait for accidents to occur before they start doing things.
>> reporter: veteran airline safety consultant captain john cox.
>> we've built in more redundancies, more checks. he build better airplanes, we operate them more not only efficiently but in a safer manner.
>> reporter: today two-thirds of people involved in plane accidents survive. proving that statistically the most dangerous part of any trip is the car ride to the airport. tom costello, nbc news, washington.