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Time to say goodbye to aviation?

Ive read a bunch of the posts above, and to me it boils down to one thing…

My question to you is: Does flying make you happy? Do you fly because you like it and it makes you feel good?

I have been in the unfortunate situation where my (now Ex) wife absolutely did NOT like to fly and made me feel guilty for spending some of my (limited) free time away from the family to get my flying fix… It meant I questioned whether I should continue flying or not when I was already in a bad place.mentally. Luckily for me flying made me feel better and in time I realised it was my home situation getting me down, I figured out (after many years) that I was happier away from home when working my nomadic working life, and that at home I was miserable – so I got divorced – which cost me aeroplane ownership, but thats another thing!!**. Hey, but Im happier as Im doing what I want to do without guilt and I am now with someone that likes to fly places with me…



Last Edited by skydriller at 27 Oct 15:23


Sadly, these are worthless in the UK, practically speaking. Only if you co-habitate can you do that.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

A couple of points.

  1. On safety it comes down to Risk Compensation. If you are risk averse, then only fly your SEP over farmland by day VMC, and only fly your MEP in controlled airspace on published procedures. If you then want to push it further, ending up with flying your SEP through mountain passes, or waterskiing your Harvard, do it, but recognise the dangers.
  2. My wife was so happy when we went from the Aztec to the Navajo that it is she that positively suggests flying places, which she resisted before. This has made me very happy indeed. You need to find what works for you.
EGKB Biggin Hill

Very individual and emotionally loaded topic…

One thing I personally would be careful with is a false sense of control over the risks involved. And anecdotal evidence is likewise dangerous.

I used race Moto-Cross and riders (including myself) would come up with all kind of mental gymnastics to rationalize the risks. “As a pedestrian you also can get run over by a car any time” “if you are a good rider, it’s not that risky” etc. But somehow there was always at least one of my riding buddies in the hospital or was recovering from a broken bone…

Before I was getting into GA, I therefore checked the risk profile very carefully. Fact is that it is much more dangerous than driving a car for example, it’s more like riding a street motorcycle in terms of risks. Yet I see similar rationalizations. Like I know a flight instructor (SEP PPL) who insists the most risky part of his job is driving to the airfield and back even though it’s only a 20 min drive. He thinks the statistics don’t apply to him because he is a good pilot, slow plane, knows all the emergency landing sites, etc…

Anyway, I calculated that if I keep up GA, over the course of my life I have a 2.5-5% chance that it will kill me. I’m OK with that. Flying commercial is about 500x safer if I remember correctly.


I was talking to a super experienced pilot, who has every possible letter after his name, the other day. He was offered the opportunity to fly a Spitfire and turned it down on the grounds that they are unreliable and dangerous.

My immediate thought was that he may be extending his life expectancy, but what’s the point?

EGKB Biggin Hill

Most of us in the 60 plus band the mortality table dominates the risk of GA :)

Oxford (EGTK)

over the course of my life I have a 2.5-5% chance that it will kill me

As an average, that seems way too high. It would imply that 1 in 40 of the GA community will end their flying career with a fatal crash, which is clearly not the case, by a factor of 10x to 100×. However, the stats could be slanted (to support my argument) by the fact that most pilots give up very early. But still looking at long-term experienced pilots the factor must be at least 10×.

the opportunity to fly a Spitfire and turned it down on the grounds that they are unreliable and dangerous.

They certainly are unreliable; all the military hardware needs a fantastic amount of maintenance and in the civilian sphere it nearly always isn’t getting it. But that isn’t the same thing as getting killed in it. One would not choose to fly a Spitfire over 100 miles of water, for example. But the sort of “an experience for £3k” flights are quite safe.

Most of us in the 60 plus band the mortality table dominates the risk of GA

Most certainly so, especially if you do the standard UK runs to airport cafes serving the “all day breakfast” fry-ups dripping in used 15W50 They should hand out stent vouchers with that “food”. I probably know more than most here about why people disappear from flying, and the medical stuff is at the top of the list.

If I got too scared to fly an SEP, I would buy a Jetprop

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

To be safe, everyone should fly an Turbine SF50, be type rated and train twice a year to ATP standards perhaps with two crew. Oh, and avoid grass – that’s where most accidents happen. The further away from this standard, the higher the risk.

In reality, this isn’t realistic but the greatest issue with the pilot population is they are unable to measure risk. No, it’s not safe flying a piston spam can with no chute from grass and using it for IMC when especially you haven’t trained in the past year. But once you accept that, you can design limitations around it to limit the risk. The challenge is, pilots won’t accept that fact. We must first accept GA is dangerous, only then can we design limitations to keep us “safer”.

Channel Islands

Silvaire wrote:

Only my opinion but I think if I were you I would keep the plane, letting others fly it, if it’s not costing you a lot.

That is what I’ve been doing for the last 2 years.

Silvaire wrote:

However reading your comments, you seem to be searching for a scape goat to justify what you want to do emotionally – which is stop flying as a result of family concerns and Swiss social pressure.

No, the primary reason I question whether it is worth to weather all the rest is lack of time and that is my own “fault” so to speak. But always when you ponder about such decisions it is time to talk it over with friends, which is what I am trying to do here.

Social pressure does not concern me personally whatsoever. Safety for my family does however. Timothy wrote:

get a more capable aircraft with more redundancy (as Jason and I have done) so that a failure is less of an issue.

I would do that if I could, but that is beyond my financial means and always will be.

Just got back from a 50 mile drive in Sunday evening traffic and had to realize yet again that driving surrounded by morons is dangerous as well….. I wonder if I am not succumbing to what a friend calls “insurance salesman anxiety” or simply develop into one of those psychotic parents who wake up scared for their kid and fret all day… yea, maybe a good idea to take a step back. And maybe I was less anxious when I was not so much interested in accident investigations… hence the insurance salesman thing… some of them will scare the bejazis out of their clients to sell insurances until they end up being a nervous wreck themselfs. Somehow I think that is happening to me.

No, when I go flying I still very much like it. The big problem really is time. My wife likes flying with our plane, so that is not the issue, but obviously she also looks out for the safety of our child. I am grateful for the inputs here, that is why i started thread. We will see what the future brings.

LSZH, Switzerland

Reading the NTSB fatals, there are not many out of IMC, and not many NOT manoeuvering at low level. There are a number doing crazy things.
I suspect many involve pilots not current in what they were doing.
I wouldn’t bother about medical in-flight deaths.
Accidents I regard as inevitable, both in the air and on the road. Serious accidents I’ve managed to avoid, for 33 years in the air and 60 years car ownership on the road. (Exaggeration- 12 days to go to 60 years.)
My 2 aviation-related visits to Casualty were for injuries during maintenance.

EGPE, United Kingdom
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