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Suicide By Airplane

by John M. White |

The suicide by airplane that occurred in Austin, TX has once again sent the non-aviation community looking to impose still more regulation and restrictions on the use of general aviation aircraft. For some reason it seems that there is a belief with the general population that you can legislate the risks out of almost anything. For example, look at the health care debate. What piques my curiosity is where the idea that everyone in the United States is entitled to health care provided by the government. I don't understand where this "entitlement" became accepted by the American people.
Suicide By Airplane The truth is there is no way to prevent every act by someone who is unstable in a country of 300+ million people. When you consider that there are more than 30,000 suicides each year in the U.S., plus another 700,000+ attempted suicides in the U.S. each year, the average of less than 2 suicides per year by aircraft over the past 20 years shows that aviation contributes very little to this problem. But because aviation is a high visibility activity this suicide, combined with 9/11, has attracted a lot of attention from the public. The calls for immediate action to eliminate this risk are understandable, but should be tempered by looking at the overall picture. This was an isolated event which should be measured against the fact that we have more than 600,000 pilots in the United States who fly more than 26 million hours per year making significant contributions to the economy. I would hope that any response to this suicide be taken only after careful, reasonable and appropriate reviews of the circumstances surrounding this event. What do you think? Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 You are professionals trained to deal with three things that can kill you: gravity, combustion, and inertia. Keep them under control, and you'll die in bed. — Sailor Davis, long-time TWA ground school instructor.

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