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... I'm suggesting that if you are going to use that much money to reduce fatalities, then it would be much better spent on roads and cars. Where many more people die each year (est. 1.25 million in 2010).
It is not a fair comparison. Cars are driven mostly by run-of-the-mill operators. There are drunkards, drug adicts, sick persons, sleep deprived individuals, etc. among drivers of cars and among amateur mechanics.
Passenger aircraft are piloted by licensed pilots and serviced by qualified mechanics.
...Don't the majority of crashes occur on takeoff or landing?...
In such cases as Air France and Eyptair it happened during flight at high altitude. When aircraft stalls it just falls from the sky.
A Passenger Pod could be made even lighter by removing inbuilt displays. Almost anyone has got a display on a smartphone or on a tablet. Passengers could download free inflight movies via WiFi on board. Instead of hundreds of heavy displays it would be just one light WiFi router on board.
Parachutes' fabric could be used as a thermal insulation of the Pod, i.e. a passenger cabin. Without a parachute the free fall speed of such an object is about 150 - 180 km/h due to the air resistance. So medium size parachutes could handle it. There are people who survived a free fall in a passenger seat without serious injuries: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... . So we need just to slow down this fall.
A stall of an aircraft, which happens regularly for difference reasons, shall not be the reason of unavoidable deaths. Air travel is not that safe. Air travel safety statistics could be calculated and presented in a different way. It could be calculated by a distance traveled, by number of vehicles, etc.
In my opinion aircraft design should be also kind of an Open Source Project, so that different ideas and insights could be tested and used.
1 Sagan = Billions & Billions