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How safe is it, really?



 
 
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  #21  
Old November 30th 04, 08:13 PM
Peter Duniho
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"June" wrote in message
om...
[...]
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.


Is there really? Where do you live? Here in the Seattle area, we have news
of a fatal car crash on the news almost every night. Local aviation
accidents are extremely unusual, as far as news reports go, maybe 6 or 12 a
year.

I would say before you make the claim that "there is another small plane
crash every other time you turn on the news", you actually do a real survey.
Keep a log of every time you watch the news, and note when a car crash and
which an airplane crash are reported. Do this for a few months. At the
end, compare your notes with your perception.

I think you'll find that there's your perception does not match your notes.
It's human nature to focus on things that worry us the most, in spite of
relatively low risk, and to overlook things that we take for granted, in
spite of relatively high risk.

As far as the actual relative risks go, most people agree that general
aviation is more dangerous than driving (as a point of comparison).
Disagreements come up with respect to just how much more dangerous, and how
safe one can make it. This mainly is a result of the fact that you can
evaluate the relative safety in a variety of ways, not all of which result
in the exact same answer.

Factual things that are not open to debate include that there are nearly
50,000 fatalaties due to motor vehicles every year, while there are only
about 500 fatalities in fixed-wing general aviation aircraft every year
(from around 300 accidents). Granted, there are more people driving than
flying, so the relative risks are higher for flying than driving. But an
individual's total exposure is also almost always lower for flying than for
driving, usually by a significant amount, simply because they do it a lot
less.

It is also a fact that there are lots of activities that people commonly do
that are as dangerous or more dangerous than flying. Whether you have a
similar debate with your husband regarding those types of activities, I
don't know.

IMHO, if you and your family are not prepared to lose either you or your
husband, then you need to fix that. Whether or not he's flying, bad things
can happen, and they won't necessarily wait until the kids are older. If
you ARE prepared, then you ought to (IMHO) live life, and not worry so much
about whether what you're doing could kill you.

Nearly everything we do has the potential for killing us, including taking a
shower. Even for a pilot, the cumulative odds of something else killing
that pilot are MUCH greater than the singular odds of flying killing that
pilot. The real question should not be "how dangerous is flying", but
rather "how much MORE dangerous will be life be if I fly?" I personally
don't believe that the incremental increase in risk of death is all that
great from flying (once you consider all the other ways to get killed), even
if flying itself is demonstrably more dangerous than an individual activity
(like driving).

I realize this reply is as much a philosophical one as it is one that
actually answers your question. But honestly, what did you expect, really?
Every single one of us you've asked has made the decision to fly, in spite
of whatever risks exist. We all obviously think that flying is reasonably
safe, whether that's because of a relatively low accident rate or a
philosophically fatalistic point of view.

Pete


  #22  
Old November 30th 04, 08:22 PM
Back_To_Flying
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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.

He is in more danger of dying in a car crash on the way to the airport.
Driving is still the most dangerous activity we humans do.

Richard

"June" wrote in message
om...


  #23  
Old November 30th 04, 08:28 PM
Aviv Hod
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C Kingsbury wrote:
"June" wrote in message
om...

Your opinions would be appreciated.



One of my partners has a 4 year-old daughter who loves to go flying with
him. Obviously he (and more significantly his ex-wife) find the risks
acceptable.

There is risk the minute you get up off the couch. Come to think of it, if
you don't get off the couch, there is a risk you'll die young of heart
disease and diabetes. The fact is that nobody gets out of this life alive.
Flying does involve more risks than, say, carpentry, but as pilots we can
choose to control our risks and avoid many things that increase them.

In my experience people who have the flying "bug" bad enough to actually
make it through the rigmarole of getting a license are a breed apart.
They're all kinds of people- rich, poor, old men, young women, every race
and religion out there, but somewhere along the line we all got a little
chunk of the sky stuck inside us. Dig into his urge to fly and you'll
probably find pieces of the things that made you decide to spend the rest of
your life with him. Are you sure that you want to ask him to suppress this?
There is so much sadness and tragedy in life that doesn't make the papers.
None of us truly know the number of our days, and we owe it to ourselves and
our loved ones to live each present moment with joy and gratitude. For me,
part of that is thankfulness that I was born in the century in which two
bicycle mechanics from Dayton realized an ancient dream, and in a nation
where I, a person of average means, could turn that dream into reality.

Best,
-cwk.


Beautifully put, Mr. Kingsbury! I too am thankful for all that has
allowed me to delight in the freedom of flight. Every time I pull back
on the yoke and guide a magnificent flying machine into the sky, I know
I am not only living my own dream, but also the dream of millions of
others who are not as fortunate as me.

-Aviv
  #24  
Old November 30th 04, 08:43 PM
Dan Luke
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"June" wrote:
I worry for his safety as it seems there is
another small plane crash every other time you turn on the news.


It is true that private aviation accidents are over-reported due to their
rarity. However, they are rare mostly due to the relative scarcity of
private pilots, not the low risk of private flying.

By any measure, private flying is more risky than driving. Individual
behavior has a large effect on the actual risk per flight, but even removing
the more egregious "pilot error" accidents from the statistics leaves the
flying risk/hour greater than that for driving -- and that's without
removing the "nut behind the wheel" accidents from the driving statistics.

You are right to be concerned for the safety of your children with respect
to your husband's flying, particularly in weather requiring the instrument
rating. In my opinion, the risk can be managed to an acceptable level if
your husband's airplane is proactively maintained to a high standard, your
husband regularly trains for high proficieny as a pilot, and your husband is
extremely conservative in his decisions about the kind of weather he will
tackle with the family aboard.
--
Dan
C-172RG at BFM


  #25  
Old November 30th 04, 08:45 PM
Dan Luke
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"Back_To_Flying" wrote:
He is in more danger of dying in a car crash on the way to the airport.
Driving is still the most dangerous activity we humans do.


Utter BS.


  #26  
Old November 30th 04, 09:04 PM
Nathan Young
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I wonder if the 30% figure for mechanicals includes fuel exhaustion
(which I consider a pilot error).

-Nathan


On Tue, 30 Nov 2004 17:47:41 GMT, "Mike Rapoport"
wrote:

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,


  #28  
Old November 30th 04, 09:23 PM
Brian Case
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It depends mostly on you husband.

Flying much more than most any other endeavor is as safe as the pilot
makes it.

If your husband follows the rules, and doesn't get hit by a drunk
driver on the way to the airport, he will become a very old and happy
pilot,


If he doesn't follow the rules, especially the ones about flying to
low, or bad weather, then perhaps you should strongly recommend he
take up fishing in the kiddie pool instead.

I once did some research into the Phrase "The most dangerous thing
about flying is driving to the airport". If you just look at the
numbers for one hour spent in an airplane vs 1 hour spent in a car.
The odds getting hurt in the airplane are much better. However, If you
eliminate all the accidents where the pilot was flying to low or in
bad weather, then the odds are about the same as getting in an
accident in the car as the are in the airplane. So if you husband
avoids flying low and stays out of bad weather, he is just as likely
to get hurt in the car as he is in the airplane.
disclaimer: this was just my interpretation of the NTSB Statistics,
someone else may come to a different conclusion.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Brian Case
Flight instructor
2500 hrs Single Engine
500 hrs Gliders











(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.

  #29  
Old November 30th 04, 09:33 PM
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"Dan Luke" wrote:
You are right to be concerned for the safety of your children with respect
to your husband's flying, particularly in weather requiring the instrument
rating.


She is right to be concerned. But she said it was a hobby, and we don't
know what her husband's intentions are regarding the instrument rating.
Not everyone who pursues that rating gets it with the intention of
taking off routinely in weather "requiring an instrument rating" (except
for the purpose of staying current) ... many get it for the added
training, knowledge and precision as well as for the "just in case"
situation that *might* occur despite all the best laid plans, but not
one you'd actively seek out.

Someone else asked what she expected to hear -- I think she either
expected someone to tell her that she was right and that her husband
should give up flying until their two daughters are adults and no longer
dependants, or maybe she just wanted and needed to hear how others
weigh, justify, rationalize or prioritize the risk in our decision
whether or not to fly, and some assurance that her husband was going in
a sensible direction, not deeper into danger.

Of course it hits home when you turn on the news and see a small plane
crash, but no more or less than it does to see news of a head-on
collision on the local highway, a shooting at a local mini-mart, or a
home invasion.

Regardless of what anyone here thinks, feels or writes, that decision is
something they have to work out. The presence of aviation is a shared
passion in some marriages; in others, it's a continual source of
aggravation and turmoil ... but so are football, golf and truck shows.
  #30  
Old November 30th 04, 09:34 PM
Andrew Gideon
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Nathan Young wrote:

I wonder if the 30% figure for mechanicals includes fuel exhaustion
(which I consider a pilot error).


Or issues that should have been caught during a preflight (ie. reversed
aileron cables, Jet-A in the 100LL tank, or some such).

- Andrew

 




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