The Killing Zone: How & Why Pilots Die
This literal survival guide for new pilots identifies "the killing zone," the 40-250 flight hours during which unseasoned aviators are likely to commit lethal mistakes. Presents the statistics of how many pilots will die in the zone within a year; calls attention to the eight top pilot killers (such as "VFR into IFR," "Takeoff and Climb"); and maps strategies for avoiding, diverting, correcting, and managing the dangers. Includes a Pilot Personality Self-Assessment Exercise that identifies pilot "types" and how each type can best react to survive the killing zone.
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An interesting look at an important subject, however, there is what to me appears to be a grievous math error on the fourteenth page into the book. The accident fatality rate for private aviation compared with ground vehicles is stated to be 10 times greater. Private aviation has a fatality rate of 2.32 deaths per 100,000 flight hours. In doing the math a couple of different ways, I find the comparison of aviation fatalities, to ground transport fatalities to be in error. I believe the author took the stated average rate of aircraft speed (150 MPH) and then changed it to 1.5 as a multiplier. This is not tied to another reference such as ground vehicle speed relationship, and though I would appreciate others validating my contention, it seems that a decimal got slid to the right by two places. Would others please verify this, and If I am correct, I would certainly hope the author would correct this, and attempt to rectify a rather terrifyingly high rate of deaths for private aviation. It is interesting to note that in the next paragraph, the author states that the rate for fatalities in airline operations is 0.65 fatalities per 100,000 flight hours, and airline flying continues to remain statistically safer than driving. If common sense math overview checking is applied, 0.65 compared with the 2.32 would be a difference of private aviation being less than 4 times (2.32/0.65= 3.57) as fatal as airlines. This is contradicted by the statement made in the paragraph above, that General Aviation is 15.4 times more likely to result in fatalities than driving. Those numbers in themselves when compared with each other speak to a large math error. It is hard to begin to accept the remainder of the books statistical information with what seems a gross error in the introduction to the subject matter. Again, I would appreciate peer review of my contentions.
Thanks to the reviewer who correctly identified that frequencies and rates are not interchangeable - but a careful read of "The Killing Zone" will reveal that I addressed this statistical situation and the premise of the book's central theme - that a killing zone exists - holds up. Thanks for your comment and your review of the book. I hope that the tips and techniques discussed in the book will save lives and eliminate the killing zone - no matter what statistical calculation is made!
Dr. Paul A. Craig
Chapter 12 Ice
Chapter 13 The Effects of Advanced Flight Training
Chapter 14 Instrument Flight CFIT
Chapter 15 Advanced Aircraft Accidents
Chapter 16 Pilot Personality
Chapter 17 Airmanship
Chapter 18 Accidents and the Media
Chapter 9 Fuel Management
Chapter 10 Pilot Health Alcohol and Drugs
Chapter 11 Night Flying