Is flyng dangerous?

In training to be a pilot on the four Cessna 150 airplanes of Pakistan International Airlines Flying Training Academy at Karachi Airport, Pakistan from May 1967 to May 1969, the only mishap encountered was when one fellow pilot trainee while low flying (prohibited), beat up a truck  in the training area, hit it with the nose wheel, which sheared off disrupting fuel supply. The engine failed and he made a forced landing in the dirt. The aircraft was put back into service after necessary repair and the pilot survived scratch less but was demoted to the next course. He has retired after a long career, flying airliners, the last one a B747 for Saudia. There were twenty-eight trainees and not a single engine failure occurred during the time, and all of us acquired the CPL.

Flying is a continuous process of learning which never stops and requires constant skill and practice.

Risk is inversely proportional to learning and it increases when knowledge is deficient which can lead to a mishap. There is no room for complacency, and constant mental rehearsing of the relevant airport’s standard instrument departure (SID) and standard terminal arrival (STAR) charts, instrument let downs and taxi patterns on the ground before every flight assures a degree of safety and confidence.

Before every flight, in fact the night before, one goes over the departure procedure, the destination arrival and landing approach plates with safe altitudes and the expected route weather at the time of the year. Notices to airmen (NOTAM) have to be looked in and this service is provided to the airline pilot by the dispatcher at pre-flight briefing.

Safety has to be drummed in, and through the media the public has to be made aware of the causes of airplane accidents, since the first line of defense is knowledge. A lot of general aviation accidents take place because of too little preparation for the flight, complacency, and little knowledge of weather.

Pilot encounter with unplanned instrument meteorological condition (IMC) when not instrument qualified, results mostly in panicking while trying to manoeuvre, and break clear of clouds. Instrument training should be a must on initial license issue at the Private Pilot Licence stage.

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