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Home > Air Safety > Is flying in general aviation safer than driving?
Is flying in general aviation safer than driving?
Aviation - Air Safety
Monday, 25 February 2013 15:54

Farmer Flying – Slow Flight Handling and Piloting

Hi Capt Lim,

I am a farmer from NSW Australia and have a problem that my wife wants to move to a city to better educate the kids which is 2 hours’ drive from the farm.

I don't want to sell the farm, I came across the light sport aircraft which is cheap to run and there are a lot of different types.

I just want to know whether it would be safe to fly every day to the farm and back which is 140 km direct or are they too small to make this idea feasible.

Regards

John,

Hi John,

When you read statistics referring to flying as being very safe when compared to driving, you must read the small print that this refers to commercial planes in major airlines only. However, safety for general aviation (covering everything from small planes such as the Cessna 152s to flying corporate jets) the safety standard is generally lower.

The American NTSB statistics for commercial airlines for 2008 was 0.010 fatalities per 100,000 hours whereas it was 1.21 fatalities per 100,000 hours for private aircraft. Whilst flying is much safer in commercial planes than driving, the NHTSA (National Highway Transport Safety Administration) reported 1.26 fatalities per 100 million miles travelled on the road. When private flying is compared to driving, it has a fatality rate of 19 times greater than travelling in a motor car.

Some of the main reasons why commercial flying is safer -  their pilots are well trained, there are always two or more pilots flying the planes into big airports with long runways and good landing facilities, such as the Instrument Landing System

In my opinion, it is fine to take up flying as a sport but it would not be advisable for you to fly your kids every day to school from the farm, not forgetting that safe flying is a full time professional job. You cannot afford to make a mistake as you would not encounter good weather every day!

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Short Take Off and Slow Landing

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I would agree with Capt Lim that the weather will probably make you keep the kids at home and the plane in the hangar many days in the week. The oy a certain time. What if the pilot wakes up slightly late or is slightly unwell or a minor technical fault is detected when preflighting the aircraft? The desire to make the flight in time may well push him to rush his checks and to take lightly his physical condition or the technical defects.
Helang Perkasa , 26 Feb, 2013

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