Boeing’s new 787-9 Dreamliner is the company’s bright hope for the future against rival Airbus, but it’s not been controversy-free. Problems with fires in the plane’s lithium-ion battery packs kept the whole fleet (now numbering some 140 planes) grounded for three months last year.

And it’s still not fully resolved — the National Transportation Safety Board’s file on a Japan Airlines incident in Boston is still open, and the Federal Aviation Administration still has questions about how the batteries are tested.

Do those first-class Dreamliner seats turn into beds? You bet they do!

Do those first-class Dreamliner seats turn into beds? You bet they do! (Photo: Boeing)

But the Dreamliners are flying again, and have proven popular with such customers as United Airlines, American and Air France. Boeing is showing them off at the Farnborough trade show in England this week, and as part of that, the company issued this colorful video of the plane doing some discreet stunts:

Don’t try this at home! If you were on that plane you’d be reaching for an airsick bag. But despite the Dreamliner’s safety issues, there haven’t been any crashes or injuries to passengers. That leads us to private planes, which have an unenviable safety record highlighted by the recent crash in Westchester County, New York, that killed Richard Rockefeller.

As Damian Fowler, the author of "Falling Through Clouds: A Story of Survival, Love, and Liability," noted in a July 17 op-ed piece in the New York Times:

Just type ‘private plane crash’ or ‘helicopter crash’ into Google Alerts and the updates come in regularly. In January, in Aspen, Colorado, a twin-engine private jet crashed and burst into flames, killing one and injuring two. In February, in Nashville, a twin-engine aircraft missed a landing approach and all four people on board died. In March, in Ridgway, Colorado, an airplane went into a flat spin, crashed into icy water, and killed five people. Just yesterday, a small plane went down in New Jersey.
According to the NTSB, in 2011 a whopping 94 percent of fatal flying accidents occurred in what’s called “general aviation, the category that includes small planes. But here’s an astute comment KD from Princeton, New Jersey posted:
Why pick on general aviation? Approximately 450 annual fatalities does not compare to the 35,543 motor vehicle-related deaths or 32,351 gun-related deaths in 2011.
Despite knowing that flying is actually safer than driving, I’m always nervous on small planes, in a way I rarely am on airliners. I don’t have a fear of flying, but I have a fear of flying in tiny one-engine planes. My brother-in-law’s two-seat helicopter didn’t bother me at all, but that’s because he takes such elaborate safety precautions.

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