Features

October 2011 Issue

Is It Safe?

Flying personal airplanes will always impose some risks, but if we refuse to engage in certain behaviors, we can eliminate many of them.

Anyone spending much time around personal aircraft sooner or later will be forced to confront the increased risk flying them can entail. It might be after a close call in the traffic pattern, or a rough-running engine without a decent landing area in sight. And we won’t even mention trying to intelligently discuss general aviation safety with a skeptical co-worker, nosy neighbor or unimpressed mother-in-law who’s convinced those little airplanes we fly are deathtraps. The fact is, flying personal airplanes does increase our risk of death or injury. So does engaging in many other activities—skiing, motorcycling, rock climbing, scuba diving—as well as things as mundane as commuting to work or taking a shower. Basically, everything we do carries some risk. Understanding and mitigating those risks is key to our longevity.

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