Safety of GA flying

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by evapilotaz, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You're getting ahead of yourself….

    There is usually some warning before an engine goes TU. Not always. Pay attention to your run-up results, and you'll know if something isn't right -- usually. If you don't and the engine pukes at 300 feet, land straight ahead (or nearly so) under control. You'll spend a lot of time in your training working through what-ifs. But the main thing is, don't take off with an out of spec indication in run-up (like, rough running on one mag or oil temperature too high).

    Yes, there are overconfident pilots. Don't be one of them.
     
  2. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    Hello,

    Thanks for your input. I read some previous posts talking about running up reports on the NTSB website so I decided to look up some myself to have an understanding on what was being said. I saw this:

    http://www.ntsb.gov/aviationquery/brief.aspx?ev_id=20131120X80518&key=1

    This was an engine out on a Learjet. The pilot had over 10,000 hours but at the end of the report it said he was probably overloaded, I guess that would explain why he didn't notice the signs of a possible engine failure?
     
  3. warthog1984

    warthog1984 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Overloaded enough not to notice an impending engine failure & over his head enough not to get back to the airport he just took off from despite have 5 minutes of "flying time" after the failure.
     
  4. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And jets have totally different procedures and failure modes than pistons.

    This one has a lot of unanswered questions, especially why the crew asked for vectors back to the field and then didn't follow them.

    This is also a TWIN, so the double engine failure needs a look. That's not very likely unless someone did something really stupid.

    People ignore things all the time.

    Overload refers not to weight and balance, but rather to smacking aluminum into water hard enough to break it.

    With foreign aircraft, sometimes language is an issue. This might have had nothing to do with the engines.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  5. Dead Stick

    Dead Stick Line Up and Wait

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    This is an interesting accident. I don't know what to make of it. I've got nearly three thousand hours in Lear 35s and I find it difficult, actually impossible, to believe that they were anywhere near max gross weight with only 2 passengers and full fuel. Misfueling isn't an issue either, the Lear can run on 100LL with a few restrictions. The Lear handles very nicely on one engine and is capable of doing well over 200 KIAS in that configuration. The report mentions 140 and 150 knots, that's way too slow unless you've got some flaps out. The only plausible explanation I can see at this point is a dual engine failure and about the only way you're going to get a dual engine failure is with birdstrikes (a la Sulley) or fuel starvation - anything else requires way too much mental gyration. Running out of fuel is a bonehead mistake, taking some birds in the engines is a risk you take. I'll looking forward to reading the final report on this one.
     
  6. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    In the end, there is no answer which will make sense to the person asking the question. You can explain it all, but in the end, they will walk away thinking you're nuts. May as well save a lot of time and just tell them, "I do whatever the voices tell me to do."
     
  7. jonnyjetprop

    jonnyjetprop Cleared for Takeoff

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    Flying is as safe as you make it. I don't buy into the it can happen to anyone line of thinking. The biggest threat to you and your passengers is you, the pilot.

    Without going into too much depth, there are the big killers in GA. Your instructor should cover these and together you'll come up with methods to counter these.

    You're not driving a car. Treat it that way.
     
  8. hahco

    hahco Filing Flight Plan

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    first time poster ... i felt compelled to comment on this topic. If you read enough aviation history, you know it's not safe. It's safer than it used to be, but it's not "safe". never will be. I ride a motorcycle to the airport, too, so I'm creating all kinds of bad odds.

    I think people who fly GA do so because they have a passion for it. there's no sense in having the safety argument with someone who doesn't share the same passion.
     
  9. evapilotaz

    evapilotaz Pattern Altitude

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    So if it's not safe should I be thinking this airplane may kill me one day? Is this how people think when driving motor cycles.
     
  10. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Of course it's not safe.

    Getting out of bed is not safe.

    The question is, is the risk excessive?

    You should be thinking about how to deal with problems, just like you anticipate problems driving or walking across a busy intersection. You do that, right? Either one of those can kill you, too.
     
  11. simtech

    simtech Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I rode motorcycles for a few years and raced motocross for many many years. In the street bike world it was not if you have an accident, it's when. I've never had an accident on my street bike. Motocross..well...it's put me in the hospital and made me hurt alot. But I loved it.

    GA is as safe as you make it. Like everyone says, don't run out of fuel, know your limits, and those of the plane, and don't fly into weather you can't handle. You are trained for the engine out so keep calm and handle it like you've been trained.

    I mean honestly what is safe anyway?? I'm at work right now and my building is on an active flight line for military pilot training. I can be sitting here fat dumb and happy and a plane crash into my building and kill me. I can die on the way to work in a wreck. I can have a heartattack after my run.. Nothing is 100% safe. Nothing! I remember not long ago a husband and wife was sleeping. And a cow came through his roof and killed the husband in bed. Yeah how is that for safe. Mitigate the risk you can and carry on and enjoy.
     
  12. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    You should accept that flying may kill you one day as motorcyclists accept that riding may one day kill them. Once you accept that your death in inevitable and unpredictable, you are then free to do as you please without being afraid of dying.
     
  13. Mike Boehler

    Mike Boehler Pre-takeoff checklist

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    When this subject rears it head, the reply's are always the same.
    "life is a death sentence"
    "might as well die doing what you love"
    "better than rotting on a ventilator"
    yada yada. But interestingly enough, to me at least, not many have mentioned the children that rely on you for safety. Your wife has a choice, your buddy's have choices. Your children don't.

    My last CFI was mulling over what to do next before signing me off, I looked behind him and his little girl's picture was on the wall, about the age of mine. I pointed to her and said to him "when you'll let me take her flying, you should sign me off".

    I know guys that won't take their infants on their boats. Totally against it. I don't fall into that school of thought, but what I think matters little to anyone other than the children I strap in my plane. I have taken kids for rides, they love it, their parents? I'm not really sure. If they didn't want me to, I would hope they wouldn't let me.

    But what about your children? Trust them with anyone but you?
     
  14. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Children are like Doritos, there's always more.
     
  15. Mike Boehler

    Mike Boehler Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not the question, but I'm guessing you got the question.

    Sure some guys can bang out a few more, but I'm not all that crazy about the idea of setting my 8 year old on the back of someone else's motorcycle, and I rode for years also.
     
  16. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Read my change, does that change your feeling? It's not like I don't use any caution in my flying decision making, I just don't make decisions based out of fear of dying. 25 years and over 2500 hrs and I haven't been killed by a plane yet.

    The most important thing to find out, most pilots never do, and that is to see how you react when facing death, do you act calmly, quickly, and thoughtfully, or do you become an observer from the outside, calm, observing the scene as though it's happening to someone else, or you're watching a movie?

    It's a switch that's in everyone's brain, a pilot should know which way it flips.
     
  17. Mike Boehler

    Mike Boehler Pre-takeoff checklist

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    No Kids?
     
  18. ClimbnSink

    ClimbnSink Ejection Handle Pulled

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    They will get on without you. Better if they are old enough to remember you but no bother, they'll be fine. Besides your wife probably already has your replacement picked out.:rofl:
    Seriously there was some huge study tracking longterm health measures and divorce is worse for children then the death of a parent.
    Yes I have a kid, and yes I still play dangerous games.

     
  19. Mike Boehler

    Mike Boehler Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Ha! My wife's decision making has been suspect for 20 years.

    However, as pilots, we are a strange bunch, we always are thinking that the conversation is about us.

    My question stands unanswered.

    Do you trust general aviation enough to strap your 8 year old child in a plane that you are NOT in, or in control of? The answer to the OP lies in the answer.
     
  20. ClimbnSink

    ClimbnSink Ejection Handle Pulled

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    No. No one here is. And it is funny. I've pointed it out when the threads pop up from new pilots complaining that their family members won't fly with them and everyone goes on about how the new pilot is a gov't certified, qualified, blah blah blah. Ask those same pilots well would you sit in the back without controls and let a 60 hour PP fly you around? :D
     
  21. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Me? Nope, but I've taken many kids flying including a niece when she was 2 days old bringing her and my SIL home. I even took all the nieces and nephews along on pipeline patrols, and that's a whole day of maneuvering between 20 & 200' max.

    However that didn't answer my question, do you not want to see your child in the seat of an aircraft next to you that you are flying?
     
  22. Mike Boehler

    Mike Boehler Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have no problem taking my own. Honestly, if dying is what's on your mind while flying, (not suggesting it is) then I suggest taking up chess.

    I just find it interesting that it's easy to lie to ourselves until our kids are involved. I think we all know the risks. Honestly it's hardly worth discussing, but I've met some certified dumbasses, they aren't taking my little girl anywhere, especially flying.

    But in defense of pilots everywhere, we probably have a need for a level of control that prohibits any measure of confidence in anything we aren't in control of.
     
  23. ClimbnSink

    ClimbnSink Ejection Handle Pulled

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    If most pilots think most other pilots are inexperienced or suck does that mean that most pilots suck?:lol:
     
  24. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    If my kid wanted to fly with someone else, I would let them! But it wouldn't be a total stranger because I don't let my kid around just anybody, Too many weirdo's in the world.

    What I learned from this post is you have to have a healthy respect for flying and it's dangers. There are quite a few things that can happen to you outside of your control.
     
  25. txflyer

    txflyer En-Route

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    Fly it like you STOL it ♦
    I refuse to believe our chances of dying in our 180 are greater than driving the 480 miles to the Panhandle in anything. Be it a motorcycle, limo, or armored truck.

    no f'n way ... :no:
     
  26. hahco

    hahco Filing Flight Plan

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    The way I think when riding motorcycles is to have absolute control of the machine, and to think ahead to what could happen in the various situations that present themselves. You cannot assure that someone is not going to turn left in front of you, but you can take steps to mitigate the risk.

    My mindset for flying is similar. Think ahead of the plane, and do the work to be proficient in controlling the aircraft.

    At the end of the day, its a risk/benefit analysis that only the individual can perform.
     
  27. Bob T

    Bob T Pre-Flight

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    Being born has a 100% mortality rate. I just don't want to be on my deathbed thinking to myself that I never followed any of my dreams because there was small chance that I might die as a result.

    I've seen some mention of flying being 8 times, or something like that, more dangerous than driving. Well, that may be, but I have 35 times better chance of winning a million in the powerball than I have in winning the big prize. That doesn't make a million dollar windfall very likely for me.

    I think you need a healthy respect for the dangers of flying and your own mortality, make sure that if something happens to you that your loved ones will be taken care of financially, and then enjoy flying. Maybe you'll die in an airplane or maybe you won't, but you will surely die some day. So do what you enjoy whether it's flying or something else.
     
  28. DrMack

    DrMack Line Up and Wait

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    There are an infinite number of moments between any two points in time. So whether you live 30 years or a hundred, you'll have just as many moments to enjoy. Live as hard as you can. Fly as much as you can. Savor every moment without fear of missing out on your quota as they are infinite in number, quantum mechanics notwithstanding :)
     
  29. acrophile

    acrophile Line Up and Wait

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    You have to be quantitative. There isn't a sharp binary distinction between safe and unsafe. Figure out the fatality risk per flight hour, or per year given your flight hours per year.

    One easy but crude way to estimate the risk is to note that each year in the US, there are on the order of 300 fatal GA accidents among about 600,000 active pilots. So about 0.5% of pilots die per decade of flying. If you fly for 50 years, that's a 2.5% chance that flying will kill you one day.

    That estimate can be refined by considering the type and amount of flying you do, compared to the average. But it'll still come out in roughly that ballpark.

    Therefore, flying is very probably not what's going to kill you. Still, the risk is much greater than for driving. If 0.5% of US drivers had fatal car accidents each decade, that'd be more than a million such accidents per decade. The actual rate is less than 1/5th of that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
  30. johnrweb

    johnrweb Pre-Flight

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    For most people, yes. Myself, I have a technique to live forever. So far, its working. :D
     
  31. SoCalPilot88

    SoCalPilot88 Pre-Flight

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    I know statistically the numbers don’t look good, but pilots have a greater ability to mitigate risks than motorcycle riders. I think a small percentage of Darwin award winners skew the aviation numbers unfavorably.

    I’m confident I can reduce the risk down to a reasonable level by setting personal limits and stick with them, even if you must cancel last minute and disappoint passengers. It helps to tell passengers weeks in advance that there is a 40% chance we’ll have to drive, or cancel altogether if things turn sour. I think many pilots take weather related risks due to scheduling pressures and peer pressure.

    The accident rate for training flights are lower simply because common sense, personal minimums and protocols are enforced. That’s why I always handle each flight like it was a check ride:
    • Get standard weather briefing and outlook briefing for extended flights. Cancel flight if minimums are exceeded. File flight plan if it is a cross country.
    • Plan the flight well in advance and stick to the plan. Filing a flight plan and getting flight following will hinder last minute desires to “see what lies up this box canyon”.
    • Always do W&B and incorporate a buffer to account for density altitude.
    • Plan on landing with 1 hour of fuel in tanks.
    • Use the checklists.
    • Don’t do stupid things like performing a low fly-by of your buddy’s house.
     
  32. rottydaddy

    rottydaddy En-Route

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    That's about what I tell them...but its usually not enough.
    Most people want stats. I offer the stats, then remind them that statistically, lying in bed is the most dangerous thing you can do because more people have died lying in bed than when engaging in any other activity.
    After the chuckles stop, I tell them the stuff you mentioned.
    If they still think Im nuts or they wont fly with me because its "not safe", I shrug and walk away.
     
  33. Bonchie

    Bonchie Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'd like to see breakdowns by region, although I'm sure that doesn't exist.

    For example, I'd assume it's more dangerous flying per hour in Alaska or the PNW because of weather and terrain vs. flying in lower Arizona or parts of the southern US where weather is much more predictable/less extreme, terrain is much less of a factor, and there are generally more suitable emergency landing spots in case of mechanical failure.

    Same would apply for driving. If most of you driving is done in a rural, generally flat, area on sunny days, the risks have to be minuscule compared to driving on a snowy day in the rockies.

    I'd like to see a VFR vs. IMC flying comparison as well. How many of GA accidents (most of which are caused by pilot error) are weather related? Which is something clearly avoidable in most cases.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2014
  34. SoCalPilot88

    SoCalPilot88 Pre-Flight

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    Look up the latest Nall report. Lots of good information. There is a link to it on the first page of this thread. It provides all the stats, except for risk per region of the U.S.
     
  35. Bonchie

    Bonchie Cleared for Takeoff

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    The vast majority of flights are daylight VMC and I see that they make up 61% of the accidents vs. IMC conditions (or night VMC). Doesn't tell me much though because I don't know what percent of total GA flights are IMC.

    Out of the 1300 or so accidents a year, Alaska accounts for about 100 of them (35 or so fatalities). One state, out of 50, is where 1/13th of all accidents happen. Worse, 1/7th of all GA fatalities happen in Alaska.

    But, Alaska has the most PPL holders of any state as well.

    I did look up a few states. Maryland only had 2 deaths last year. Washington State, only 1. But without knowing their total GA flights compared to Alaska, I can't draw any solid conclusions.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2014
  36. navigator44

    navigator44 Pre-Flight

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    According to "Plane & Pilot, April 2013, page 45: "you're seven time more likely to die in a GA aircraft than in a car per mile; 3.5 times if measured per hour, according to NTSB 2011 statistics."
     
  37. Datadriver

    Datadriver Line Up and Wait

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    I've told people "the odds of us getting killed going from point A to point B are 100 times higher if we fly small airplanes compared to driving".
    :yikes:
     
  38. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That would make you fifteen or twenty times more dangerous than the average pilot.
     
  39. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    (This is my opinion) This statement is too general and could be stretched in different ways. Suppose the driver of that car had bad driving habits? Suppose the weather was bad? hit a deer on the road? etc Compared to the Pilot who flys carefully and safe every time? there are too many variables that might or might not happen to just come out and say what is safe and what isn't in this case.

    You do the best you can to make yourself and passengers safe, that is all you can ask of yourself.