The Killing Zone
There have been a number of high profile air mishaps in the recent past: The Continental Bombardier tragedy in February; and in March, fatalities in the Pilatus PC-12 crash; and the FedEx plane crash in Japan. For some, it shakes their confidence in the safety of flying.
One of the oldest and most incorrect sayings in GA is that flying light aircraft is safer than driving.. The best estimate was that automobiles had seven times as many accidents but as for fatalities, GA is seven times worse based on miles traveled, according to the Air Safety Foundation. Certainly, everything is relative. Over the past five years there were 1,539 fatal aircraft accidents. During the same period, 192,069 motor vehicle fatalities occurred. So what should we think about this?
There is an excellent book available titled: “The Killing Zone-How and Why Pilots Die”. It indicates that very low time pilots, as well as those with thousands of hours, can fall prey to overconfidence, bad judgement, and lack of recent experience. The key remedy: Ongoing training and currency. Never become complacent. While there is risk, it can be managed. Virtually all accidents can be traced to pilot error, not the aircraft. Buckle up and make sure that if something goes wrong, it wasn’t something you did or didn’t do.
Update:-Commercial aviation is safer than driving. “The Killing Zone” seeks to explain risks associated with the hours of time combined with the level of training in light aircraft where pilots are most prone to accidents.
Update #2: The 2008 Nall Report was Issued today