IMHO I think the discussion about accident rates is good, but all of your great efforts in that area (defining what the rate has been, or is) could be used to talk about what to do right now to lower the rate from now on. Obviously, each of us has our own reason for continuing (or not) our own progression as pilots thru getting additional ratings, doing recurrent training, etc. Personally, I really like the idea of continuing to live, and if you do not progress as a pilot, you regress.
More to the point, at the AOPA convention (even though I had fun at Burt and Jack’s with some of you) the most valuable thing I took from the entire conference was a comment which I overheard at the insurance forum.
During the Q + A session with insurance agents and underwriters answering, a gentleman (who stated he was about 200 hours total time not inst rated) stood and asked, “what can I do to lower my insurance rates?” (what I think he also could have said was, “how can I be a safer pilot” but it WAS an insurance forum.) After the usual, “get an instrument rating” and “get more total time, and time in make and model” answers. Jim Lauerman (of AVEMCO… yuck) gave a very intelligent answer that I really liked.
He said (paraphrased), “If you are on the flight line and see someone doing something stupid (or just barely surviving a stupid act) talk to them, help them realize that they almost hurt themselves and possibly others… this may keep him from hurting himself or others or his airplane in the future… this will ultimately lower the overall number of aviation accidents, and thus overall rates, and thus your premium.” Thank you Jim, I think we all keep to much to ourselves these days for fear of offending someone.
I know this may seem awkward to do in real life. We are not (and don’t need to become) the “flight line police” or anything, but if you have a friend at your airport, who you know (due to his stories told over the beverage of your choosing) pushes weather (or something equally as dangerous)… you could say to that person… “you are my friend, I want you to remain here with me among the living so we can continue telling stories (albeit perhaps less exciting ones) over these beverages!.. so I wish you wouldn’t do that!”
Just my .02
John “JT” Helms