There are different views on risks, their acceptance and how they are handled. I subscribe to the right to take a calculated risk simply because risk is always a part of any physical activity. The right to take a calculated risk has one absolute requirement, which is how to calculate and mitigate it! If you don´t you are just taking a blindfolded risk, which is extremely dangerous in any aviation activity. This is proven from the very beginning of aviation. Too many people have died or been seriously injured. It´s enough already. If you don´t accept that there are risks involved or you don´t know how to calculate and mitigate risks in aviation you should stay on the ground.
If risks are mitigated properly the greatest risk in most aviation activities will be the road trip to or from the airport or flying site. Hence the benchmark for the risk level, might be the possible outcome of a road trip in a “drive-worthy” car or a bike when you follow the rules and stay within the speed limits. In fact, most aviation activities are safer than that, if good airmanship which always include risk assessments, is performed.
Today we have aviation sports which are categorized as extreme sports which is “cool” to be a part of. The justification is the adrenaline kicks and nothing more. I find it disturbing when the culture in some activities say that they are not focused on the risk but rather on the experience, the “kicks”. The fact is that they are “turning the blind eye” to what can cause great harm or even lost lives. Some claims that this is a personal matter only. Is it?
When somebody get´s hurt or die, it affects other people, especially family but also friends and the society. It is financial cost involved as hospital bills has to be paid and death or permanent disabilities will change, not only the life of the injured, but the whole family. A rescue mission is never cheap either. I have heard people say that the Search and Rescue teams like the risk involved in a rescue operation, they need the training, etc. That is not so, they do their job because it´s their job. They do not enjoy any part of it because it is risky. Their satisfaction lies in rescuing someone, saving lives and reducing harm. Apart from the immense cost involved in a rescue operation, any high risk activity involves other people and their safety as well. I have seen enough grief and sadness after accidents and death and it is always horrible, and only that.
Let´s talk about reducing risk to an acceptable level in the context of being a loyal to family and friends and a responsible citizen. This forum welcomes a discussion.
Note: This item replace 2 previous blog post addressing the same subject.