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Do you get affected by reading about accidents?

Certainly, “family acceptance” of flying is negatively influenced by hearing about accidents. I think every pilot has discovered this… But what about the pilot? Do you get more conservative in risk assessment?

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I wouldn’t call it “conservative”, just “better”.

EBST, Belgium

No, not at all. What reading about accidents does for me is to re-evaluate decision making processes and in general thinking more deeply about said processes. After all, some 90+ % of GA accidents are down to pilot error. Accident reports provide an important reality check.

I found out about jgmusic from a newspaper front page in the supermarket. Despite barely knowing him, it was a big shock and still upsetting, maybe because our children were the same age.

My wife used to show me plane crashes in the news, but she’s stopped, maybe because I would never give an opinion or judgement.

The FFA magazine has a monthly safety article, where several similar incidents are compared, researched, analysed, and conclusions drawn. I find this more intelligent than reading the raw reports, which are easy to skim read and dismiss with a “I would never do that”.

There’s different skills (if skill is the right word): avoiding the accident; recognising there’s a problem developing; reacting after things start going wrong.

Generally, I try to stay humble.

EGHO-LFQF-KCLW, United Kingdom

One is better not talking about accidents to his family in any shape or form

Reading load of NTSB/AAIB reports adds no value for pilots IMO, there are just explanatory stories with zero predictive power, I don’t see how pilots can do investigators reasoning while they are flying?

Looking at aggregate on stats is far better but still hard to infer your individual factors when you mix everything: CFIT is one of the biggest contributor but mainly due to large number of US flyers who flew between Arizona & Cali and hit terrain pre-GPS days, while most of LOC accidents happens in CAVOK with highly experienced flyers (obviously as they fly more and everybody will fly in sunny day)

Then I am left with individual accidents (jgmusic was a hangar neighbour), well not much to say about these, I think I am just more lucky !

ESSEX, United Kingdom

I think there are two questions – one in the title and one in the O/P.

Affected – no. I have listened to events unfolding in two different arenas on the radion and that can be quite moving.

Conservative – yes, but it depends what you mean. Conservative in the sense of hopefully avoiding some of the mistakes others have made. Conservative in the sense of avoiding flying, then no.

There’s a section in beechtalk called ‘crashtalk’. They talk openly about most accidents in the US and some abroad. I consider them helpful, if you omit the dumb comments.

But after a while, you’ve seen it. Most accidents have the same 3-5 reasons. No need to repeat it again and again.

EDLN, Germany

I get the NTSB Reporter and read it with great interest. I also look at the FAA accident/incident summary most days. I’ve com eup with a classification of accidents into 3.5 categories:

1. That could happen to me. (Mechanical failure etc)
2. That shouldn’t happen to me, but I need to be careful. (Fuel exhaustion, VFR into IMC, …)
3. What? (Acro in non-acro aircraft, low flying, flying while drunk/on drugs)
4. What?
??? (Reserved for a single incident, in which the pilot was drunk, doing acro in a non-acro aircraft without acro training, at night. He killed three of his buddies too. Though the recent case of the guy trying to fly an advanced twin with a known dodgy engine over the Sierra Nevada at night, with only a student pilot ASEL certificate, might make it).

KPAO, United States

@johnh, so IOW your #4 is the list of contenders for the Darwin Award.

Last Edited by 172driver at 08 Sep 17:57

I use the accident reports as a reality check.

I am have to admit that I may sometimes lean toward lapsing slightly on safety procedures and my adversion to risk is ‘Normal’ for me but may be less so when compared to some others.

I’m not a kick-the-tyres-light-the-fires type, but I fly weekly ish and cannot bring myself to do a student style walkaround time and time again.

I do speak frankly about accidents with the wife as I always want her to be informed enough to feel in control of her decision to fly with me on almost every flight I make. It’s a conversation that I do handle gently.
If something were to happen and I hadn’t done that I would feel terrible. She has a good grasp of the risks, and how different airframes we have flown in will change it.
We brief regularly about what we think would happen in a ditching and how we will deal with it.
So I suppose that’s good.

United Kingdom
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