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You will see people site the statistic that flying is safer than driving. This is a bit disingenuous when applied to general aviation. This statistic is due to the outstanding safety of airline travel.
So what about general aviation (e.g., small planes)?
While it is more dangerous than driving in a car or on a commercial flight, it isn't that high with about 1.3 fatalilties per 100,000 flight hours (possibly closer to 2 for personal flying). As a comparison, Motorcycles have a rate of 39 fatalities per 100 million miles. If we use an unreasonably slow average GA speed of 110 miles/hr, we get a rate that's half as dangerous (and with a higher average speed, we get an even lower rate).
What's interesting here, and relevant to the motorcycle comparison, is the cause of these accidents. Per the NTSB, the largest cause is "loss of control in flight", (and #2 is "controlled flight into terrain") which are often (but not always) code words for "a pilot not qualified to go into instrument conditions proceeds into adverse weather" or "A plane not equipped for a certain type of weather proceeds into that weather." Both of these are often issues with inadequate pilot decision making.
If you are a careful pilot, with a clear set of go/no-go rules, and good training many of these accidents are avoidable, and the rate should be lower or much lower.
Did you know?...

There are two questions most potential student pilot asks first:
• How safe is flying?
• How much will this cost?

Interestingly, the order in which students ask these questions tell the instructor something about the prospective students, and sometimes guide our initial conversations about safety with the student
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