Menu Sign In Contact FAQ
Banner
Welcome to our forums

How Do GA Aircraft Crashes Impact You

However, the influence the person has on the risk is vastly different between biking and flying. So it is a very misleading comparison. It makes flying look much more dangerous than it is IF the pilot is reasonably diligent.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Fuji_Abound wrote:

When I had an engine failure in a twin there were a lot of pilots who criticised diverting to a large international airport in favour of a smaller airport, although the larger airport was much closer. I have never understood why they would have thought that, and have never felt the need to avoid inconviencing a few CAT (which did happen in this case) in favour of going somewhere not frequented by CAT. When things go wrong, unless you are very certain of the cause, it seems sensible to assess matters on the ground.

I completely agree. It is the same effect as people being reluctant to declare an emergency.

Fuji_Abound wrote:

As to forced landing I think it is interesting how often pilots expect the outcome to be “good”. I think there is a fair chance it will be, but, I also think it is easy to underestimate the predictability of an off airport landing. There is an element of luck involved. Chutes and extra engines therefore make a great deal of sense to me, if you can afford the luxury.

For sure. I think forced landings are very survivable if you don’t stall or spin in but there is certainly a variable element this is beyond your control and ability to assess in the air.

EGTK Oxford

Peter wrote:

However, the influence the person has on the risk is vastly different between biking and flying. So it is a very misleading comparison. It makes flying look much more dangerous than it is IF the pilot is reasonably diligent.

That’s what I explain to people as well, if the topic comes up. In biking, you’re much more subject to external risks (incarnated by other traffic participants) than in flying, where the pilot has more options to mitigate the risks, he or she just needs to choose to apply them. It also follows that a simple, local sightseeing flight in crystal clear weather conditions with a well-maintained aircraft is much less risky than a similar biking tour.

However, looking at it that way, I think, can lead to a certain sense of complacency as well. It’s easy to think “if I don’t make any of those obvious mistakes that lead to accidents, I will be fine”. Yet when you look closely at actual accidents, many are not caused by reckless rowdies, but rather by skilled and diligent people who’ve gotten themselves in situations – by an unfortunate chain of events – they can’t get out of anymore and I think it’s fair to note that it can happen to anyone. Which, then, makes the risk comparable to biking again?

Essen-Mülheim (EDLE), Düsseldorf (EDDL), Paderborn (EDLP), Mönchengladbach (EDLN), Germany

I keep meaning to look through the fatal accidents (and the serious accidents, as often the evidence of what happened is more clear from the post accident reports of the crew) for a period of time, and decide which ones were realistically avoidable, and which were not. It would be an interesting excercise. There are certainly some accidents involving enormously experienced pilots where you can only conclude they had a “commonsense failure” because, despite their experience, the accident was clearly avoidable. There are others when you think to yourself there was probably very little anyone could have done about it.

Without wishing to start the another Cirrus debate, from my afore point of view, a review of the chute incidents would be interesting because without the chute I guess a whole lot of these could have been fatal, so that might be a good source.

In biking, you’re much more subject to external risks (incarnated by other traffic participants) than in flying, where the pilot has more options to mitigate the risks, he or she just needs to choose to apply them.

I’m not sure that I buy that, even though it’s often said. I’ve never ridden a motorbike, so I might be wrong on this, but I get the impression that the biggest danger for motor cyclists is weaving in and out of traffic.

A motor cyclist can choose to sit in the middle of a lane, and take up a while space just like a car does, instead of driving between cars. This would be much safer, and reduce their risk massively. Yet, very few motor cyclists choose this. Instead they take the more risky option of going between other vehicles and weaving their way through, in return for a faster journey time.

While most pilots are pretty safety conscious.

It would seem to me that big reductions in risk are more easily available to motor cyclists (who usually take a risky choice) than to pilots (who usually try to play things safe).

EIWT Weston

dublinpilot wrote:

I get the impression that the biggest danger for motor cyclists is weaving in and out of traffic.

Statistically 2/3 of motorcycle accidents are caused by other participants not seeing or ignoring motorcycles (“because they are ‘small’ and cannot do any harm to me”). Not sure it’s always because of weaving in and out of traffic. Although I’ve been riding only for 3-4 months, I’ve already experienced a lot of car drivers completely violating the rules to show that they are “stronger” than me.

LSZH, LSZF, Switzerland

Whenever people say most motorcycle accidents are caused by others and therefore not subject to the control of the motorcyclist, I ask them to consider how I’ve ridden since mid-1970s (hundreds of thousands of miles) without injury. Good luck has very clearly been involved, but given the very large numbers of people on the same rides who I’ve seen injured, it’s not the only issue in play.

I think motorcycling is safer than flying, for me but they feel about the same in terms of the ‘real time’attention needed to keep things under control. Flying takes more preparation and planning.

Silvaire wrote:

Whenever people say most motorcycle accidents are caused by others

Just statistics, I think.

Silvaire wrote:

therefore not subject to the control of the motorcyclist

That’s not what people (at least teachers in Switzerland) say. What they mean is be aware that people around you might not see you or might ignore you, so be vigilant and careful. Qualities and advice good for flying too.

LSZH, LSZF, Switzerland

I’ve done about 100k miles on motorbikes, in the 1970s and 1980s when there were far fewer cars on the road – probably about 1/3 of today.

Back then, the majority of accidents were caused by a car driver. However the legal blame is a fuzzy concept and is relevant only if somebody gets caught. Let’s say you have someone doing 30mph on a winding country road, with 10 cars queued behind him. You (on the bike) have to overtake these, often one at a time. Often, as you overtake a car, the driver puts his foot on the floor to close the gap in front, out of jealousy, stupidity, whatever. Certain car brands were much more likely to do this… Usually he will close the gap just enough so you get a scare pulling into it when a car comes the other way, but some car drivers close it completely and leave you on the wrong side of the road facing any oncoming traffic. The result is quite likely a dead biker. Of course this is “murder” but it is 100% legal. The car driver will disappear as fast as he can, but even if the whole thing was filmed from a helicopter flying above, the driver would still not get done. However even if the 10 car drivers are all behaving correctly, the biker is still running up a much bigger risk than if he was riding on an empty road.

So motorbiking is always going to be much more risky in the mere presence of other traffic. In flying you don’t have this factor – except for mid-airs which are extremely rare.

So I think this comparison “works” only because the numbers just happen to be similar. The two activities are hugely different. Apart from sheer recklessness, every accident cause in GA has no parallel on the road, and vice versa.

BTW, I would not ride a bike today because – here in the south east especially – I would spend my whole time weaving in and out of traffic. I have known a number of bikers, including some “born again bikers” (which make up a large chunk of the biking community here), who have given up because it isn’t fun anymore unless they go out at 6am.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Vigilance and care are effective in almost everything, including preventing most motorcycling and flying accidents. I think many people who preach otherwise, that risks cannot be controlled by the operator, typically have an agenda involving downplaying the value of individual attributes and skills.

I’m looking forward to my time in Italian traffic next month. Sick huh? Before then I have 5.7 hrs to fly so my A&P IA will agree to Annual the plane when I return. I should really fly the other plane too. Life is tough

BTW, and on topic, whenever I hear about a local forced landing or similar, it scares me. I think a measured amount of fear is part of the equation.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 09 Aug 14:38
Sign in to add your message

Back to Top