The Big Lie


I came across an interesting article this morning entitled- The Sky Kings: After We Had Our Accident, that most interestingly talks about the “big lie”.

We’ve heard it, often enough. In fact, I have said this often enough when friends and family queried about how safe it was to fly: “There are more car accidents every second than there are airplane accidents!” Or as the King’s say:” The most dangerous part of the trip is the drive to an airport”

To paraphrase the King’s, “While this is true, if you are flying airlines, it is not even close for GA aircraft. You are seven times more likely to be involved in a fatality in a GA aircraft than a car.”

snf20Fortunately, the article also tries to address the lapses as well as provide options to address these lapses:

PAVE: Pilot, Aircraft, enVironment, and External pressures: the tool available to pilots to determine how safe the planned flight is going to be. The idea being, you identify the risks of the flight before they happen.

CARE: Consequences, Alternative, Reality and External Pressures. This recognizes that the moment you are airborne, all the risk factors can change.

And they leave us finally with another acronym- CHORRD: Conditions, Hazards, Operational changes, Runway required and available, Return procedure, and our Departure routes and altitudes. It is a great situational tool that helps you plan and execute your flight.

While my negative experiences are fairly limited (Thank Goodness!), I do follow a common logic, each time I fly:

  • I rarely fly, anymore, when I think I am not capable of safely flying either as the Pilot in Command, Safety Pilot or Passenger.
  • As I indicated in my previous post, I often fly with my flying buddy, when possible. This is terrific. Since I know my co-pilot’s strengths and weakness’ as she/he knows mine. Based on the applicable circumstances, this prepares me (or her/him)  to decide if it is safe to fly or not!
  • I/We constantly communicate with each other to determine if I/he/she feels comfortable flying the particular scenario such as in clouds/night/congested situation
  • When it comes to flying, or driving or life in general 🙂 Safety always comes first!

And it is okay to take calculated risks!

It is a great saying, and it is true for flying on the airlines. But sadly, it isn’t even close to being true for general aviation. You are seven times more likely per mile to be involved in a fatality in a GA airplane than you are in a car. To get that figure, compare the fatal accident rate per mile for cars from the National Highway Transportation Safety
Administration to the fatal accident rate per hour for airplanes from the National Transportation Safety Board and assume an average speed of 150 miles per hour for airplanes.

Read more at http://www.flyingmag.com/technique/proficiency/sky-kings-after-we-had-our-accident#WxXweToC66wqHOfX.99

It is a great saying, and it is true for flying on the airlines. But sadly, it isn’t even close to being true for general aviation. You are seven times more likely per mile to be involved in a fatality in a GA airplane than you are in a car. To get that figure, compare the fatal accident rate per mile for cars from the National Highway Transportation Safety
Administration to the fatal accident rate per hour for airplanes from the National Transportation Safety Board and assume an average speed of 150 miles per hour for airplanes.

Read more at http://www.flyingmag.com/technique/proficiency/sky-kings-after-we-had-our-accident#WxXweToC66wqHOfX.99

It is a great saying, and it is true for flying on the airlines. But sadly, it isn’t even close to being true for general aviation. You are seven times more likely per mile to be involved in a fatality in a GA airplane than you are in a car. To get that figure, compare the fatal accident rate per mile for cars from the National Highway Transportation Safety
Administration to the fatal accident rate per hour for airplanes from the National Transportation Safety Board and assume an average speed of 150 miles per hour for airplanes.

Read more at http://www.flyingmag.com/technique/proficiency/sky-kings-after-we-had-our-accident#WxXweToC66wqHOfX.99

It is a great saying, and it is true for flying on the airlines. But sadly, it isn’t even close to being true for general aviation. You are seven times more likely per mile to be involved in a fatality in a GA airplane than you are in a car. To get that figure, compare the fatal accident rate per mile for cars from the National Highway Transportation Safety
Administration to the fatal accident rate per hour for airplanes from the National Transportation Safety Board and assume an average speed of 150 miles per hour for airplanes.

Read more at http://www.flyingmag.com/technique/proficiency/sky-kings-after-we-had-our-accident#WxXweToC66wqHOfX.99

6 thoughts on “The Big Lie

  1. swpilot April 15, 2014 / 12:33 am

    I believe in the quote “With greater power, comes greater responsibility !” While I agree that GA safety record may not be as good as other modes of transport, the pilot’s attitude, combined with appropriate skills, personal minimums and sound judgement can go a long way to avoid becoming a statistics on NTSB records. Conversely, if all auto drivers take their time to do pre-flight and plan their routes and scan for traffic, imagine how many road accidents would be preventable.
    Flying for me is all about managing known risks efficiently and effectively and being prepared for the unknowns viz. engine failures, Wx diversions, potential collision with another flying objects. Most of these are completely preventable by investing time and resources during planning e.g. fuel management and Wx diversions and constantly looking for a landing spot or planning your flight to keep airports within gliding distance.
    I believe in multi-crew safety but I do fly a lot single pilot IFR and over time have become comfortable using digital resources (G1000, iPad, Stratus) and autopilot+ATC effectively.
    If only the media won’t put the fear of god in general public about GA and plane crashes in general, may be the people would stop judging us negatively all the time. Flying is a privilege and we pilots owe it to ourselves to conduct mindfully and professionally.

    Tailwinds 🙂
    Ruhil.

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    • flynthings April 15, 2014 / 1:01 am

      While I agree with you for the most part… I beg to differ… having driven in some of the worst cities, I know people are crazy drivers!

      While, I agree with you , that flying is all about managing risks… believe me when I say, after almost 14 years of flying with strangers and novice pilots, it can get weird! There are times when I wonder why I choose to fly with another pilot…. when it is so simple, easy, fun and safe to fly by myself!

      I agree, flying is a privilege, and being one of the 6% women pilots in the country, I know how rare and privileged this is!

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      • swpilot April 15, 2014 / 1:20 am

        Oh yeah I’ve had my share of crazy drivers around me as well making me respect flying further and higher to stay the heck away from them and fly even more to celebrate life 🙂 Haha

        You are absolutely right about strange/novice pilots and since I mostly fly with non pilots or highly experienced crew in CAP, I haven’t seen any scary habits so far, luckily. I can only imagine what these CFIs go through with novice pilots.

        On second thoughts, you do remind me of a recent experience with a good albeit a novice pilot friend of mine, giving me a tour of Tillamook Cheese Factory (KTMK) in Oregon by flying me there and he almost landed on a wrong runway and I had to take over control to go-around and help him land on the right runway.

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      • flynthings April 18, 2014 / 10:06 am

        I’ve also flown with a lot of excellent pilots 🙂 I think sometimes personalities and flying styles clash and can cause confusion as well.

        Hopefully soon we can all own a “Transition” from Terrafugia!

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  2. Karlene April 15, 2014 / 1:53 am

    Wow… I did not know these general aviation statistics. But then on my road trip to Bend, we had car trouble and pulled over to the side of the street. If I had the same trouble over Mount Hood flying, I would not have had that option. Same issue… engine stalled… on the ground we were fine, in the air it would depend where we could have landed. So I guess I can see this issue. I think the issue is all about not taking flying for granted. Yes… a privilege.

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    • flynthings April 18, 2014 / 10:03 am

      Car trouble can be frustrating, but at least you are on the ground and can pull over. Glad to hear all were fine.

      Very true, nothing should ever be taken for granted. That is when we get complacent and start making mistakes 🙂

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