Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Killing Zone. How and why pilots die

I have just finished reading a very interesting book, called The Killing Zone. How and why pilots die.

Obviously a fairly morbid, yet attention grabbing, title, but well worth a read.

The author, Paul A Craig, is an American instructor pilot and the book looks at examples of, and reasons why, pilots crash their perfectly good aircraft, often [though not always] with rather fatal consequences.

It is obviously based on the author's experience and research and makes a few asumptions relating to the American environment. For example, it appears that private pilots in the USA end up with a night rating along with their PPL, and a sizable percentage of PPLs in the USA get instrument ratings. Both of these would be unusual in New Zealand. It would pay to keep in mind that examples of rules and practices can be materially different in New Zealand.

If I were to summerise the book, it would be to say that when a pilot has little experience and takes risks, they are more likely to end up the guest of honour at a party you don't want to be at. Secondly, if you actively manage risks [including having personal minimums] and continue to learn [higher licences, instruments ratings maybe type ratings and a bit of dual], that party is more likely to wait until you're much much older. 😀

The Killing Zone is well worth the read. It would be interesting to know if the statistics in New Zealand are similar - maybe an interesting research paper for someone?

Anyway, if anyone wants to borrow the book, I'm happy to lend it out - you'll need to pick up from me in Wellington of course, or get your own copy from

No comments: