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A disturbing statistic



 
 
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  #1  
Old October 31st 06, 12:14 AM posted to rec.aviation.ifr
Dane Spearing
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Posts: 38
Default A disturbing statistic

I've had many non-pilot friends and co-workers ask, "Is flying a small plane
more or less dangerous than driving a car?", to which my response has always
been "It depends on who is piloting the plane." However, in order to get
a firmer answer from a statistical standpoint on this question, I decided
to do a little homework:

According to the DOT, the 2005 automobile fatality accident rate is:
1.47 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled
(see http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/)

According to the 2005 Nall Report, the general aviation fatality accident rate
is: 1.2 fatalities per 100,000 flight hours
(see http://www.aopa.org/asf/publications/nall.html)

In order to compare these two statistics, we obviously need to assume an
average velocity for either automobiles or GA aircraft. If we assume an
average GA aircraft velocity of 150 mph, then the aviation accident statistic
becomes 1.2 fatalities per 15 million miles.

Thus, based on the above, it appears that the GA fatality rate is somewhere
around 7 times that of automobiles. Now I realize that one could fudge the
average GA aircraft velocity velocity up or down, but I'm farily confident
that it's not above 200 mph, nor below 100 mph, which brakets the aviation
fatality rate between 5 and 10 times that of driving. A sobering thought...

Comments?

-- Dane
Ads
  #2  
Old October 31st 06, 12:34 AM posted to rec.aviation.ifr
Bill[_4_]
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Posts: 15
Default A disturbing statistic

Here's a thought exercise that will get you in touch with this data.

1) How many people do you personally know that have been
wiped out in airplanes? (my answer--quite a few; way too many)

2) How many people do you personally know that have been
wiped out in car accidents? (my answer--have to struggle to
remember more than a couple, one of whom was
ironically a pilot)

3) How many more people do you know who drive than fly?
(personal answer: Many X)

Might be more useful to compare flying to those who ride motorcycles.

Bill Hale
Still ducking the bullet

Dane Spearing wrote:
I've had many non-pilot friends and co-workers ask, "Is flying a small plane
more or less dangerous than driving a car?", to which my response has always
been "It depends on who is piloting the plane." However, in order to get
a firmer answer from a statistical standpoint on this question, I decided
to do a little homework:

According to the DOT, the 2005 automobile fatality accident rate is:
1.47 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled
(see http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/)

According to the 2005 Nall Report, the general aviation fatality accident rate
is: 1.2 fatalities per 100,000 flight hours
(see http://www.aopa.org/asf/publications/nall.html)

In order to compare these two statistics, we obviously need to assume an
average velocity for either automobiles or GA aircraft. If we assume an
average GA aircraft velocity of 150 mph, then the aviation accident statistic
becomes 1.2 fatalities per 15 million miles.

Thus, based on the above, it appears that the GA fatality rate is somewhere
around 7 times that of automobiles. Now I realize that one could fudge the
average GA aircraft velocity velocity up or down, but I'm farily confident
that it's not above 200 mph, nor below 100 mph, which brakets the aviation
fatality rate between 5 and 10 times that of driving. A sobering thought...

Comments?

-- Dane


  #4  
Old October 31st 06, 12:49 AM posted to rec.aviation.ifr
Gary Drescher
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Posts: 252
Default A disturbing statistic

"Dane Spearing" wrote in message
...
Thus, based on the above, it appears that the GA fatality rate is
somewhere
around 7 times that of automobiles. Now I realize that one could fudge
the
average GA aircraft velocity velocity up or down, but I'm farily confident
that it's not above 200 mph, nor below 100 mph, which brakets the aviation
fatality rate between 5 and 10 times that of driving. A sobering
thought...


Yup. There've been many threads here on this topic, and (among people who do
the research and the arithmetic) the conclusions have been in line with
yours.

Moreover, according to the Nall Report, personal (as opposed to commercial)
GA flying has about twice the fatality rate of GA flying overall.

On the other hand, instructional flight (solo and dual) has about half the
fatality rate of GA overall (even though the most dangerous phases of
flight--takeoff, landing, and low-altitude maneuvering--are presumably
overrepresented in instructional flight). What that suggests is that flying
simple planes, maintaining proficiency, and having conservative standards
regarding weather adds up to a fatality rate that is only slightly greater
than that of driving.

--Gary


  #5  
Old October 31st 06, 12:58 AM posted to rec.aviation.ifr
Tony Cox
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Posts: 62
Default A disturbing statistic

"Dane Spearing" wrote in message
...
I've had many non-pilot friends and co-workers ask, "Is flying a small plane
more or less dangerous than driving a car?", to which my response has always
been "It depends on who is piloting the plane." However, in order to get
a firmer answer from a statistical standpoint on this question, I decided
to do a little homework:

According to the DOT, the 2005 automobile fatality accident rate is:
1.47 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled
(see http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/)

According to the 2005 Nall Report, the general aviation fatality accident rate
is: 1.2 fatalities per 100,000 flight hours
(see http://www.aopa.org/asf/publications/nall.html)

In order to compare these two statistics, we obviously need to assume an
average velocity for either automobiles or GA aircraft. If we assume an
average GA aircraft velocity of 150 mph, then the aviation accident statistic
becomes 1.2 fatalities per 15 million miles.

Thus, based on the above, it appears that the GA fatality rate is somewhere
around 7 times that of automobiles. Now I realize that one could fudge the
average GA aircraft velocity velocity up or down, but I'm farily confident
that it's not above 200 mph, nor below 100 mph, which brakets the aviation
fatality rate between 5 and 10 times that of driving. A sobering thought...

Comments?


I did the calculation too, and came up with roughly the same
numbers. Someone said the fatality rate for motorcycles is
roughly the same per mile as for small planes.

But your observation that "It depends on who is piloting
the plane" doesn't fold into this pessimistic ratio. Avoiding
"buzzing",
VFR into IMC, and remembering to fill the tanks sufficiently
and accident rates start to come down. "Pilot error" is responsible
for 75% of all GA accidents (from the Nalls report you site), so
find a "perfect pilot" and its only twice as dangerous ;-)

  #6  
Old October 31st 06, 11:16 AM posted to rec.aviation.ifr
Roger (K8RI)
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Posts: 727
Default A disturbing statistic

On 30 Oct 2006 16:34:15 -0800, "Bill" wrote:

Here's a thought exercise that will get you in touch with this data.

1) How many people do you personally know that have been
wiped out in airplanes? (my answer--quite a few; way too many)


A few. I can only think of two that I knew personally.

2) How many people do you personally know that have been
wiped out in car accidents? (my answer--have to struggle to
remember more than a couple, one of whom was
ironically a pilot)


A bunch. I'd have to stretch my memory, but I can think of about 10
right now and about half of them were in the last 15 years.


3) How many more people do you know who drive than fly?
(personal answer: Many X)


Personally I know about 30 pilots. I know of about 70 locally. We
have about 50,000 drivers in the immediate area.


Might be more useful to compare flying to those who ride motorcycles.

When I got to the point I thought I knew what I was doing I sold mine.

Roger Halstead (K8RI & ARRL life member)
(N833R, S# CD-2 Worlds oldest Debonair)
www.rogerhalstead.com
  #7  
Old October 31st 06, 02:01 PM posted to rec.aviation.ifr
Sam Spade
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Posts: 1,326
Default A disturbing statistic

Dane Spearing wrote:
I've had many non-pilot friends and co-workers ask, "Is flying a small plane
more or less dangerous than driving a car?", to which my response has always
been "It depends on who is piloting the plane." However, in order to get
a firmer answer from a statistical standpoint on this question, I decided
to do a little homework:


It has so much to do both with pilot experience level and type of operation.

Day VFR, Night VFR, Day IFR, and night IFR.

Only Day VFR has the potential for being *very* safe in small,
single-engine aircraft.

No, I cannot pin down what "ver" means exactly in this context. But, my
observations over 50 years of being around this stuff tells me that
experienced pilots seldom crash on good VFR daytime operations.
  #8  
Old October 31st 06, 03:44 PM posted to rec.aviation.ifr
Michael[_1_]
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Posts: 185
Default A disturbing statistic

Sam Spade wrote:
But, my
observations over 50 years of being around this stuff tells me that
experienced pilots seldom crash on good VFR daytime operations.


True enough. However, my observation is that pilots who limit
themselves to nothing but good VFR daytime operations never do become
experienced (they quit after a few hundred hours because flying just
isn't useful under those restrictions), so that doesn't help.

Michael

  #9  
Old October 31st 06, 03:51 PM posted to rec.aviation.ifr
Michael[_1_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 185
Default A disturbing statistic

Gary Drescher wrote:
Yup. There've been many threads here on this topic, and (among people who do
the research and the arithmetic) the conclusions have been in line with
yours.


Because the conclusion is correct.

Moreover, according to the Nall Report, personal (as opposed to commercial)
GA flying has about twice the fatality rate of GA flying overall.


In fact, personal flying is the most dangerous segment of GA. Even
cropdusting is safer.

On the other hand, instructional flight (solo and dual) has about half the
fatality rate of GA overall (even though the most dangerous phases of
flight--takeoff, landing, and low-altitude maneuvering--are presumably
overrepresented in instructional flight).


The same is true of self-flown business travel.

What that suggests is that flying
simple planes, maintaining proficiency, and having conservative standards
regarding weather adds up to a fatality rate that is only slightly greater
than that of driving.


If that were truly the way to go, then self-flown business travel would
be far more dangerous than personal flying - the planes are generally
faster and more complex, and the pilots generally are under pressure to
be there on time and will push weather more. But the reality is very
different.

So I would suggest that while maintaining proficiency may well be
important (those who fly for business tend to fly much more than those
who only fly for personal reasons) simple planes and conservative
standards buy you little if anything.

Let's not kid ourselves - even corporate flying, which features pilots
who fly and train a lot more and much better equipment still won't come
within a factor of two of automobiles.

And here's the real kicker - automobile fatality rates are very
unevenly distributed. The teenage kids are way overrepresented, and
the middle aged, middle class types are way underrepresented. So what
does the typical pilot profile look like?

Michael

  #10  
Old October 31st 06, 04:13 PM posted to rec.aviation.ifr
Paul kgyy
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Posts: 283
Default A disturbing statistic



Only Day VFR has the potential for being *very* safe in small,
single-engine aircraft.


I got my Instrument rating when a couple of Day VFR flights turned
really wormy because of weather. I've had far less stress and no bad
situations flying conservative IFR compared with the vagaries of trying
to stay VFR in the midwest.

 




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