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How safe is it, really?



 
 
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  #101  
Old December 1st 04, 06:28 PM
Andrew Gideon
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C Kingsbury wrote:

I'm with Mike on this. Flying is higher risk than gardening.


You've not seen the weeds in my garden.

- Andrew

  #102  
Old December 1st 04, 06:38 PM
Richard Russell
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On Tue, 30 Nov 2004 22:22:02 -0800, "Slip'er"
wrote:

Unlike a motorcycle, a pilot gets to choose his
level of risk.


LOL, Obviously you do not ride a motorcycle. I race up and down Palomar
Mountain, Ortega Highway, and many other popular Southern California sport
bike roads. Motorcycle riders definitely choose their own level of risk
every time they get onto a motorcycle. However, I do largely accept the
premise that when I am flying, the likelihood is that if I have an accident,
it will be because of my poor decision process. On the other hand, if I have
a motorcycle accident, it is more likely to be an accidental or intentional
action from another motorist.


You started out arguing against this premise but in your last sentence
supported it. Sure, you can choose a level of riding that has more
inherent risk than conventional road riding, but the point is exactly
as you stated in your last sentence. On a bike you are much more
likely to suffer the consequences of someone else's error (that is,
you have less control over the total risk involved in the activity).
Rich Russell
  #103  
Old December 1st 04, 06:45 PM
Richard Russell
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On Wed, 01 Dec 2004 16:59:51 GMT, "C Kingsbury"
wrote:


"Slip'er" wrote in message
news:sldrd.190623$hj.62009@fed1read07...
Unlike a motorcycle, a pilot gets to choose his
level of risk.


LOL, Obviously you do not ride a motorcycle. I race up and down Palomar
Mountain, Ortega Highway, and many other popular Southern California sport
bike roads. Motorcycle riders definitely choose their own level of risk


I like the idea of a motorcycle but I live in Boston and the thought of
riding around here sends chills down my spine. I get nearly run down at
least once a month by soccer moms in SUVs because they don't see my low car
in their blind spot when they change lanes without signaling (one of many
fine local traditions). I'm surprised at how *few* motorcycle fatalities
there are around here. (FYI, I used to work at a local newspaper so I did
see "all the accidents that didn't make the news")

The way I look at it is that in an airplane, it's relatively unlikely that
I'll pay for someone else's mistake. Not impossible, just exceedingly
unlikely. There are very few chains of events leading to a fatal accident in
which an avoidable pilot error does not feature at some point.

I have friends who ride and they have told me about defensive driving and
such, but the fact remains that riding a bike in a populated area, you will
often be surrounded by vehicles capable of turning you into a grease spot.
You can do a lot to protect yourself but there's an infinite number of
possibilities where another driver's screwup will punch your ticket.

-cwk.


I ride my motorcycle to work in Philadelphia every day, year 'round
except for when there is snow or ice on the road. I keep a constantly
evolving contingency plan in my brain for what I'm going to do when
this car, or that car attacks me. I avoid minivans with women drivers
on cellphones at all costs. I know that sounds sexist and I don't
mean it that way. I don't think that women are inherently worse
drivers than men, but the one's that fit that description are deadly.
Point is, I don't feel like I'm in anywhere near that level of danger
when I fly. The reason is that I don't have to deal with all of those
people that are trying to kill me. I only have to protect myself from
myself (for the most part). With myself as the greatest risk factor
when I'm flying, that is an ideal situation in which to control and
minimize the risk, unlike on the bike.
Rich Russell
  #104  
Old December 1st 04, 08:20 PM
Captain Wubba
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Hello

I'm a flight instructor, and I often get asked this question by
prospective students, their family members, and interested people in
general.

Other people here have given you some numbers that pan out to about 1
accident per 2,200,000 miles flown and one fatal accident per
13,000,000 miles flown. These are based on a conservative 125 knots
average cruise for the 'average GA' plane and 1.15 statute miles per
nautical mile, which kind of 'normalizes' the data in relation to 'car
miles'. (Please no flames from purists...these are ballpark numbers).

As an in instructor, one thing I look for in evaluating the 'safety'
of any given pilot is his or her personality. And this is relevant to
the question you asked. Why? Because in general aviation, avout 80% of
accidents are caused by 'pilot error', and of those about 2/3rds are
attributable directly to one of 3 common mistakes: Low level
maneuvering (buzzing), fuel mismanagement (running out of gas), and
flying VFR into IFR conditions. These three errors cause a great many
deaths, and are *entirely* preventable. This data is taken, by the
way, from an annual report on general aviation safety called the 'Nall
Report'.

A person's approach to solving problems, managing risk, and dealing
with situations is reflected (or contained, depending on how you look
at it) in their personality. And the way a person approaches the
problems and issues of flying determines how likely he or she is to
find themselves in a position where one of these errors is likely.

Let me give you an example. I know an airplane partnership at my local
airport. It is odd, because the 2 partners are *entirely* different in
their approach to flying. They are both well-educated, good men, with
solid technical skills. Both are IFR rated, and both have several
hundred hours of experience. But one is *very* conservative in his
approach to flying. He never lands his plane with less than at least
one full hour of fuel in his tanks, even if that means landing 10
minutes from his destination to refuel. He's IFR rated, but never flys
in conditions that approach even marginal VFR. He never 'buzzes' or
acts ostentatiously in any manner. He is as conservative a pilot as I
have ever met. He's very skilled, and I think he's *very* unlikely to
find himself in one of the situations I mentioned above...which
accounts for a *very* large percentage of aircraft accidents.

His partner (also a very skilled pilot), has run a tank dry (over
water, at night) because he wasn't paying enough attention to his fuel
situation. He has had to put 57 gallons into a 60-gallon-capacity
plane more than once, flys *very* marginal VFR (i.e. 'pretend VFR'),
and flew in solid instrument conditions before he had completed his
instrument rating. He's buzzed lakes and fields and houses, and has a
reputation around the airport as an 'accident waiting to happen'.

The first parter's personality, training, habits, and discipline make
him a very safe pilot. he is *very* unlikely to encounter the
conditions that kill over 1/2 of all GA pilots who die each year. The
other partner is *very* likely to encounter them at some point.

I guess I am asking 'which is your husband'? Earning his instrument
rating *will* make him a better pilot. Every pilot I have ever flown
with has become a better and more skilled pilot during their
instrument training. But his safety or lack thereof is *much* more
heavily influenced by his decision making and his approach to flying
than by any rating or certificate he has.

If your husband is a conservative decision maker, with the discipline
to stick to reasonable 'personal minimums' and firm guidelines about
fuel, weather conditions, personal health, etc., then his flying is
*very* safe. Probably at least as safe (per mile) as driving a car,
and possibly safer. Even factoring in the 'idiot contingent' (as one
of my fellow CFIs call them), flying is quite safe. If you are flying
with a disciplined, thoughtful, and well-trained pilot is is much
safer, and probably a safer means of getting distant places than
driving (highway travel is significantly more dangerous than local
travel).

Talk to your husband and his CFI about your concerns. They are valid
issues, and nobody will dismiss them trivially. But safety depends on
many things. His IFR training will likely make him a safer pilot...and
if he has the personal characteristics and the discipline to avoid the
'voluntary' situations that bring with them significant danger, I
think his safety and that of those flying with him is probably well
within almost everyone's 'comfort region'.

Cheers,


Cap


(June) wrote in message . com...
I need some information from people 'in the field'. My husband has
his private license and is just starting to work on his IFR for
recreational flying. He wants to buy into a plane partnership, saying
he will be saving money rather than renting.

We have 2 little girls. I worry for his safety as it seems there is
another small plane crash every other time you turn on the news. I
think he should focus on this hobby when the kids are older, not when
he has such a young family.

Your opinions would be appreciated.

  #105  
Old December 1st 04, 09:01 PM
Mike Rapoport
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Posts: n/a
Default

This has been an interesting thread! My main interest has been watching
pilots take one set of statistics that show what they want to see, and then
to rationalize that they are safer yet! We see people using the fatal
accident rate for GA as a whole which is much safer than the flying that
people actually are engaged in. Every other type of GA flying (training,
crop dusting, business) has a lower fatal accident rate than personal
flying, but that doesn't deter pilots from using the "better" numbers
anyway! Then they rationalize that they are safer yet because they don't
engage in certain behaviors.

Here are the numbers:

Total GA
Number of hours: 25,800,000
Fatal accidents: 351
Fatal Accident Rate: 1.36/100,000 hrs

Turbine Business GA
Number of Hours 6,446,000
Fatal Accidents: 17
Fatal Accident Rate .26/100,000hrs

Total GA less Turbine Business GA (light GA)
Number of Hours 19,354,000
Fatal Accidents 334
Fatal Accident Rate: 1.73

"Peronal Flying" (from Nall Report)
Hours 47% of light GA
Fatal Accidents 72% of light GA
Fatal Rate: 2.65/100,000hrs.

So the bottom line here is that the accident rate for personal flying is
about twice the figure that pilots like to start with! I admit to using a
mix of 2002, 2003 and five year averages to reach these conclusions but the
accident rates have been fairly consistant over the years.

http://web.nbaa.org/public/ops/safety/20041130.php
http://www.ibac.org/Library/ElectF/s...riefissue2.pdf
http://ntsb.gov/aviation/Table10.htm
http://www.aopa.org/asf/publications/03nall.pdf

Wake up guys! It is what it is!

Mike
MU-2


"Captain Wubba" wrote in message
om...
Hello

I'm a flight instructor, and I often get asked this question by
prospective students, their family members, and interested people in
general.

Other people here have given you some numbers that pan out to about 1
accident per 2,200,000 miles flown and one fatal accident per
13,000,000 miles flown. These are based on a conservative 125 knots
average cruise for the 'average GA' plane and 1.15 statute miles per
nautical mile, which kind of 'normalizes' the data in relation to 'car
miles'. (Please no flames from purists...these are ballpark numbers).

As an in instructor, one thing I look for in evaluating the 'safety'
of any given pilot is his or her personality. And this is relevant to
the question you asked. Why? Because in general aviation, avout 80% of
accidents are caused by 'pilot error', and of those about 2/3rds are
attributable directly to one of 3 common mistakes: Low level
maneuvering (buzzing), fuel mismanagement (running out of gas), and
flying VFR into IFR conditions. These three errors cause a great many
deaths, and are *entirely* preventable. This data is taken, by the
way, from an annual report on general aviation safety called the 'Nall
Report'.

A person's approach to solving problems, managing risk, and dealing
with situations is reflected (or contained, depending on how you look
at it) in their personality. And the way a person approaches the
problems and issues of flying determines how likely he or she is to
find themselves in a position where one of these errors is likely.

Let me give you an example. I know an airplane partnership at my local
airport. It is odd, because the 2 partners are *entirely* different in
their approach to flying. They are both well-educated, good men, with
solid technical skills. Both are IFR rated, and both have several
hundred hours of experience. But one is *very* conservative in his
approach to flying. He never lands his plane with less than at least
one full hour of fuel in his tanks, even if that means landing 10
minutes from his destination to refuel. He's IFR rated, but never flys
in conditions that approach even marginal VFR. He never 'buzzes' or
acts ostentatiously in any manner. He is as conservative a pilot as I
have ever met. He's very skilled, and I think he's *very* unlikely to
find himself in one of the situations I mentioned above...which
accounts for a *very* large percentage of aircraft accidents.

His partner (also a very skilled pilot), has run a tank dry (over
water, at night) because he wasn't paying enough attention to his fuel
situation. He has had to put 57 gallons into a 60-gallon-capacity
plane more than once, flys *very* marginal VFR (i.e. 'pretend VFR'),
and flew in solid instrument conditions before he had completed his
instrument rating. He's buzzed lakes and fields and houses, and has a
reputation around the airport as an 'accident waiting to happen'.

The first parter's personality, training, habits, and discipline make
him a very safe pilot. he is *very* unlikely to encounter the
conditions that kill over 1/2 of all GA pilots who die each year. The
other partner is *very* likely to encounter them at some point.

I guess I am asking 'which is your husband'? Earning his instrument
rating *will* make him a better pilot. Every pilot I have ever flown
with has become a better and more skilled pilot during their
instrument training. But his safety or lack thereof is *much* more
heavily influenced by his decision making and his approach to flying
than by any rating or certificate he has.

If your husband is a conservative decision maker, with the discipline
to stick to reasonable 'personal minimums' and firm guidelines about
fuel, weather conditions, personal health, etc., then his flying is
*very* safe. Probably at least as safe (per mile) as driving a car,
and possibly safer. Even factoring in the 'idiot contingent' (as one
of my fellow CFIs call them), flying is quite safe. If you are flying
with a disciplined, thoughtful, and well-trained pilot is is much
safer, and probably a safer means of getting distant places than
driving (highway travel is significantly more dangerous than local
travel).

Talk to your husband and his CFI about your concerns. They are valid
issues, and nobody will dismiss them trivially. But safety depends on
many things. His IFR training will likely make him a safer pilot...and
if he has the personal characteristics and the discipline to avoid the
'voluntary' situations that bring with them significant danger, I
think his safety and that of those flying with him is probably well
within almost everyone's 'comfort region'.

Cheers,


Cap


(June) wrote in message
. com...
I need some information from people 'in the field'. My husband has
his private license and is just starting to work on his IFR for
recreational flying. He wants to buy into a plane partnership, saying
he will be saving money rather than renting.

We have 2 little girls. I worry for his safety as it seems there is
another small plane crash every other time you turn on the news. I
think he should focus on this hobby when the kids are older, not when
he has such a young family.

Your opinions would be appreciated.



  #106  
Old December 1st 04, 09:19 PM
Jay Honeck
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Not even close.

Are there really statistics that compute the dangers of flying if you
remove:

a) Running out of gas
b) Flying in crappy weather
c) Poor maintenance
d) Flying at night

As factors?
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993
www.AlexisParkInn.com
"Your Aviation Destination"


  #107  
Old December 1st 04, 09:29 PM
Stefan
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Mike Rapoport wrote:

This has been an interesting thread! My main interest has been watching
pilots take one set of statistics that show what they want to see, and then
to rationalize that they are safer yet! We see people using the fatal
accident rate for GA

....

I think this whole statistics discussion is irrelevant, even dangerous.

Imagine a young beginning student pilot. If all those experienced pilots
keep telling him that this or that activity (insert your favorite) is
more dangerous than flying, what attitude will he develop?

Instead, keep hammering in his (and your!) head that flying is extremely
dangerous (which it really is). The only way to survive flying is
knowing the risks and being dead serious about it, each time, always, no
exceptions. A side effect of this attitude will be that the statistics
will go down and flying will *appear* to be less dangerous.

Stefan
  #108  
Old December 1st 04, 09:45 PM
Nathan Young
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Posts: n/a
Default

On Wed, 01 Dec 2004 21:01:51 GMT, "Mike Rapoport"
wrote:


"Peronal Flying" (from Nall Report)
Hours 47% of light GA
Fatal Accidents 72% of light GA
Fatal Rate: 2.65/100,000hrs.


I was curious how this number matches with driving, and on a per miles
basis. I didn't see any statistics for automobile accidents on the
NTSB website, but I found a website that listed the deaths per
vehicle-km.
http://www.bast.de/htdocs/fachthemen...glish/we2.html

Guesstimating that the average GA plane flies 140mph.
Fatal accident rate = 2.65 / 14M miles -or- 1 fatal accident per 5.3M
miles

The webpage above lists 9.4people killed per billion vehicle-kms.
Converting to miles yields: 9.4 per 625M miles -or- 1 per 41M miles.

Since the car statistics are 'people' killed per mile, and not fatal
accident numbers per mile, the car numbers are actually better than 1
fatal accident per 41M miles. Since most vehicles are operated solo,
the factor is probably 2, but is obviously higher than 1.

-Nathan






  #109  
Old December 1st 04, 09:56 PM
Chris Ehlbeck
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

A plane crash is news. A car crash normally isn't.
--
Chris Ehlbeck, PP-ASEL
"It's a license to learn, have fun and buy really expensive hamburgers."

"June" wrote in message
om...
I need some information from people 'in the field'. My husband has
his private license and is just starting to work on his IFR for
recreational flying. He wants to buy into a plane partnership, saying
he will be saving money rather than renting.

We have 2 little girls. I worry for his safety as it seems there is
another small plane crash every other time you turn on the news. I
think he should focus on this hobby when the kids are older, not when
he has such a young family.

Your opinions would be appreciated.



  #110  
Old December 1st 04, 10:27 PM
Captain Wubba
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Actually Mike, I believe you are mistaken...or just looking at one
side of the equation. Let's take a look at some actual numbers,
gleaned from

http://www.aopa.org/asf/publications/02nall.pdf
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/hs00/pdf/in3.pdf
http://www.car-accidents.com/pages/stats.html

I'm using 2000 or 2001 numbers, depending upon the source, so they are
pretty comparable. Numbers are rounded for convenience...you can
calculate using the exact numbers from these sources. And I am making
a few 'reasonable' assumptions (i.e. average car use is 12,000 miles
per year, average GA aircraft flys at 125 knots, converted into
statute miles for comparison) and I also realize that the numbers are
not perfect...but they do give us 'some' real information upon which
to judge risk.




Automobiles
----------------
Miles traveled - 1,584,000,000,000
Deaths - 43,000
Injuries - 3,200,000
Accidents - 6,300,000
Total casualties (deaths+injuries) - 3,243,000

GA Fixed Wing Aircraft
-----------------
Miles traveled - 4,183,125,000
Deaths - 521
Injuries - 2400 (assuming a [high] 1.5 injuries per acident)
Accidents - 1600
Total casualties (deaths+injuries) - 2921


Let's look at the 'miles per incident' rates for various events:

Event Automobile Plane
--------------------------------------------------------
Deaths 36,837,209 8,029,030
Injuries 495,000 1,742,969
Accidents 251,429 2,614,453
Total Casualties 488,437 1,432,087




Now, from these statistics, it is pretty clear that your chances of
dying in a GA plane are significantly higher (per mile) than in an
automobile. But they are both quite low.

But, your chances of being a 'casualty' (being injured *or* killed) is
*much* greater in a car than in an airplane. There is one casualty for
every 488,000 miles in a car...only one for every 1,432,000 miles in a
GA plane. Additionally, you are *10 times* as likely to be in a car
wreck (again per mile) than in a plane wreck. But again, they are
still pretty low.

And this isn't even factoring in the 'what if' that the poster
commented on (i.e. about 2/3rds of GA accidents being pilot
error)...that would reduce the danger even more.

To a great extent, it depends on how you define 'dangerous'. If the
question is "If you were to travel 1000 miles in either a car or a GA
airplane, in which vehicle would you be more likely to be injured or
killed? The answer is "You're significantly more likely to be injured
or killed in the automobile."

If 'safety' means the probability of arriving at your destination
without a scratch, then you will be 'safer' in a GA airplane than an
automobile, and certainly than on a motorcycle.

If 'safety' means the probability that you won't be killed before
arriving at your destination, then you will be 'safer' in an
automobile.


Cheers,

Cap



"Mike Rapoport" wrote in message link.net...
You are fooling yourself. According to the Nall Report, the pilot was the
"major cause" of 70% of fatal accidents. This leaves 30%. Even if you
eliminate all the accidents from risky behavior or poor/rusty skills,
personal flying is still more dangerous than other forms of transport.
Pilots like to try to twist the stats to suit their beliefs. This makes no
sense to me. The motorcycle stats have people acting irresponsibly too.

The real question is "What is an acceptable level of risk?" That level
varies by person. I have this discussion with my wife over mountain
climbing all the time. My view is that you cannot perserve life, you have
to live it.

Mike
MU-2


"Robert M. Gary" wrote in message
om...
(June) wrote in message
. com...
I need some information from people 'in the field'. My husband has
his private license and is just starting to work on his IFR for
recreational flying. He wants to buy into a plane partnership, saying
he will be saving money rather than renting.

We have 2 little girls. I worry for his safety as it seems there is
another small plane crash every other time you turn on the news. I
think he should focus on this hobby when the kids are older, not when
he has such a young family.

Your opinions would be appreciated.


The motorcycle comparison is not a good one. Really, the safety has
everything to do with the type of guy your husband is. If he's the
type of person that is going to want to do low level buzzing over his
friends houses or jump into weather he isn't trained to deal with, it
could be dangerous. Unlike a motorcycle, a pilot gets to choose his
level of risk. I've flown with pilots that worry me, and I've flown
with pilots that will have very long lives. It really depends on his
choices. I have two young boys myself.

-Robert, Flight Instructor.

 




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