The truth is simpler than the numbers themselves: Flying is overwhelmingly safe.
Me, you, or anyone, is more likely to be killed behind the wheel of a car or walking across a busy street than we are in an airplane. Aircraft incidents are so rare, yet unfortunately so tragic, that when they happen they make major news.
Strangely, and in Sunday's case sadly, a recent rash of mishaps and crashes have burdened our community of Louisville, Ky., with more than its share of bad luck.
Nearly a month ago, a Michigan man reportedly ran out of fuel and crashed just outside of the airport fence on approach to Louisville International (SDF). He was hospitalized with minor injuries, but local media seemed more concerned with guns and ammunition found in the aircraft. He was flying here for a gun show.
A second incident at the same airport a week later involved a UPS cargo jet and a faulty computer warning. In this case, an emergency was declared; the pilot landed safely, and the plane was cleared again for takeoff later that night.
Then the bad winds shifted to nearby Bowman Field (LOU), where GlobalAir.com is located.
As warbirds and stunt aircraft arrived for the Thunder Over Louisville airshow, landing gear failed on a Strikemaster, shutting down a runway for much of the afternoon but causing no casualties.
This area has seen much more than its share of incidents in recent weeks. Sadly, not all of them saw its participants walk away.
A Piper Malibu en route to Bowman crashed Sunday night in southern Indiana, killing a Colorado couple.
No cause has been determined, but the night was cloudy with storms in the area. Witnesses reported hearing the engine sputter before impact. So far, it has been a tough year for fatalities in the two-state region that we locals refer to as Kentuckiana.
Media reports say six people died in regional crashes since the New Year. These incidents come in addtion to two other minor runway mishaps here at Bowman last week, only one of which even appeared to warrant an FAA report. Sometimes all the little things seem to add up to something slightly larger if you spend enough time somewhere to see enough happen.
It's almost second nature for a journalist to see something take place more than twice then lump it all together as a trend, but the only two shared traits of any of these cases are relative location and the involvement of aircraft. From weather to equipment or pilot error, a simple lapse can lead to a grave mistake in aviation.
Here is to seeing a great deal less of them in our neck of the woods.