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GA Accident Coverage Skyrocketing?

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Where's Pancakes House
Nov 26, 2001
Is it me or am I seeing media coverage about every GA fatality out there recently. I was just reading the Des Moines Register and I saw 3 GA accidents that were fatal listed. One being out in Fullerton, CA that probably happens everyday. I am also noticing the news networks like CNN covering more GA aircraft accidents.

First, I feel the media are a bunch of sensationalists and if they cover every accident out there, its going to hurt aviation as a whole. Especially if they don't get their facts straight. If the media would give aviation a break or at least understand it, they may actually help get our industry going again, god forbid.
Accident coverage skyrocketing? Absolutely.
For certain the rate of accidents and incidents hasn't appreciably changed. Looking on the NTSB page there are usually 3-5 incidents or accidents each weekday, and on Saturday and Sunday when the huddled masses strap on their aircraft it jumps up to 5-7 on the average day. Usually one or two of these are fatal.

Look at a busy Sunday in August, where essentially nothing made the national news. http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/AccList.asp?month=8&year=2001
Sunday, August 05, 2001

Prel Talkeetna, AK Piper PA-18-160 N82047 Nonfatal
Prel Crane Lake, MN Cessna A185F N2904Q Nonfatal
Final West Bend, WI Beech 23 N2367J Nonfatal
Prel Milton, WI Cessna 172M N13715 Nonfatal
Prel Beaver Island, MI Grumman AA-5B N4545T Nonfatal
Prel DCA Airport, VA de Havilland Dash 8 N935HA Fatal (1)
Prel WC 173, GM Bell 206-L1 N2755N Nonfatal
Final Denison, TX Cessna 152 N5183P Nonfatal
Final Porter, TX Cessna 182L N42892 Nonfatal
Prel Xenia, OH Aerotek Pitts S2 N8065 Nonfatal
Prel Weaverville, CA Beech B36TC N1109T Fatal(1)
Prel Palmdale, CA Cessna 336 N3838U Nonfatal
Prel Sedgwick, ME Bellanca 7GCBC N80195 Fatal(2)
Final Islip, NY Robinson R22 N4066G Nonfatal

Three fatal accidents isn't uncommon. But the press had a slow day yesterday and therefore picked up on this. If two or more similar events occur, they love to trot out words like "disturbing trend" or "another accident" yadda yadda yadda. Makes me nauseous.
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As we all know... the media is just trying to sell their stories. Unfortunately Joe Q. Public now believes all the stuff they say about GA. Hopefully AOPA and maybe some media will put the truth out.

Tampa accident was a tragedy for family and all but at least only 1 life was lost. A bright spin would be to show that these smaller GA planes don't do much damage and therefore aren't as much a risk. But of course we all know it could be given the right set of circumstances but that could be the case for many other means of doing harm like trucks, boats, blimps, missles, cars, trains, whatever.

I'm sure aviation will continue to be the flavor of the month for several years. Hopefully GA will survive as we know it.
Don't get too excited. This may seem like something new, but it's not. Aviation has always excited the public mind, and no matter what side of the fence, it sells. If you want to sell a t-shirt, put a picture of an airplane on it, or call it pilot-this or that. If you want to sell sunglasses, associate them with flying. If you want to sell a razor, name it after an airspeed and it goes like hotcakes. Aviation sells. It also sells commercials, which pay for newsbroadcasts...which attract viewers for the commercials.

Nothing new in the past 200 years, long before manned powered controlled flight. This is not new, and it's no different today than it was fifty years ago, or sixty, or seventy. Aviation sells. Period.

Probably more disheartening to me is to walk into a hobby store or the toy section of Walmart. When I was a kid, models of every kind of airplane were in. We all fantasized about aviation and flying. We could name them all. Plastic models, balsa models; anything. I spent hour after hour at the airport, intercepting pilots on the way to their airplane, begging for rides.

Today there are a few boats, a a lot of cars, and the cutaway V-8 engine with flashing lights that needs batteries. No market; kids don't have the bug; they're not buying airplane models any more. Where did the dream go?
I later saw on the news some reporter mentioning that people with private jets may pose a threat to the general public. He was talking about the jets being bigger and carrying more fuel. This was all on CNN, so I'm sure every news network out there is going to mention how the corporate jet could be a hazard.

I'm just getting frustrated, because even several of my relatives up in Vancouver are scared of flyiing which shocked me. I hope things simmer down with the media or more people will be brainwashed by the newsies.

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