What do I think about airbrakes? Well, I love them. My motorhome (RV) has them and I believe that they are the safest brakes you can have on a vehicle. Why? Well, first of all, let me compare them to hydraulic brakes. Hydraulic brakes work fine, but have their faults compared to air brakes.
The main difference is, with hydraulic brakes you have to supply hydraulic pressure to the brake pads to slow or stop your vehicle. More than one thing are involved, so there are a lot of things that can go wrong. With air brakes, the brakes are on when no air is supplied and off when air is supplied to them. So. if the system fails or gets a leak, the brakes come on. So, that is why I believe that they are the safest.
Another advantage to air brakes, is that when you park the vehicle and pull the parking brake, the air is vented. Yep, you can hear the rushing air leaving the system. Since it takes air pressure to release the brakes, all the brakes would be on when there is no pressure to hold them open.
I also have Jake brakes on my rig. A Jake brake (or a Jacobs brake) is actually an engine brake. It is a compression release engine brake which opens exhaust valves in the cylinders after the compression stroke. This releases the compressed gas in the cylinders, slowing the vehicle. That process can be quite noisy. I remember seeing signs in sleepy little towns that read "No Jake Brakes". Let me tell you, they are a wonderful thing to have when you are coming down off a mountain on a steep, windy road. Let me know if you have ever driven a vehicle equipped with air brakes and Jake brakes and have a great day, you hear?