One of the oldest and most incorrect sayings in GA is that flying light aircraft is safer than driving. By every statistical measure we can come up with to make the comparison, flying is much riskier. Years ago, ASF attempted to match annual mileage of passenger cars to that of light aircraft. The best estimate was that automobiles had seven times as many accidents but as for fatalities, GA was seven times worse. At some point, we may attempt the comparison again but it’s not easy.
When the question comes up, I can usually baffle the audience with some physics that points out that there is often much less structure surrounding the occupants in aircraft, we are typically going three to eight times faster at impact and then there is that third dimension thing. How would automobile fatalties compare if you took a Yugo ( remember them? ), got it up to about 90 mph and drove it off a 2-3 story building? It’s rough but serves the point.
The final and perhaps most important aspect is of course – you. Fly prudently and probably, with no statistical validation possible, light GA flight can approach or exceed the safety record of cars. Don’t tell people flying light aircraft is safer than driving – it’s about on par with motorcycles. Just buckle up in both cases and make sure that if something goes wrong, it wasn’t something you did or didn’t do. The odds, both in the air and on the ground, improve tremendously!