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The Killing Zone: How & Why Pilots Die

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  181 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
This literal survival guide for new pilots identifies "the killing zone," the 40-250 flight hours during which unseasoned aviators are likely to commit lethal mistakes. Presents the statistics of how many pilots will die in the zone within a year; calls attention to the eight top pilot killers (such as "VFR into IFR," "Takeoff and Climb"); and maps strategies for avoiding, ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published December 12th 2000 by McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
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William Knecht
Dec 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately, Craig repeatedly commits a rather serious statistical error in this book. He uses accident frequency counts, rather than accident rates, as the statistical basis for his conclusions about the range of the "killing zone." Frequency counts are interesting, of course, but they don't account for the number of pilots at each range of flight hours (which accounts for most of the effect he claims). Therefore, they say little about the risk that you yourself face as your flight experience ...more
Dec 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Fiid by: Hans Cathcart
This book is an excellent backgrounder in the kinds of mistakes that newly certified pilots often make, and how to take a few relatively simple steps to avoid them and be a better an safer pilot. I highly recommend it to anyone that has recently passed their checkride.
Bastian Bechtold
May 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book is trying to be scientific without understanding basic statistics. The basic premise of the book, that low-hour pilots are in "the killing zone", a time of high danger, is just plain wrong. There are simply more low-hour pilots than high-hour pilots, which leads to more low-hour accidents than high-hour accidents.

I believe the author realized that in one of the last chapters, where he tries to calculate the risk for pilots of different hours; but at that point, it was probably too late
Paul Craig
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thanks to all the reviewers of The Killing Zone. I wrote the first edition of the book in 2000 and it covered general aviation accidents from 1983 (the first year I became a flight instructor) to 1999. The second edition was written to see what, if any, impact new flight training initiatives in the 2000's had on the Killing Zone. Special thanks to those who pointed out that frequency of accidents and the rate of accidents are not interchangeable - a fact that I believed I explained better in the ...more
Vojtěch Kudela
Sep 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mr. Craig delivers a neat, effective package of what is essentially aviation-themed horror stories. Firstly, as a pilot, I am currently in what the author identifies to be the killing zone so I greatly appreciate information on what, when and how goes wrong. Secondly, the book is neatly organized, the chosen examples are both telling and impactful and the author's style of writing makes sure the readers stay interested in the subject matter instead of getting discouraged. Thirdly, the book is ac ...more
Debbie Paulding
Sep 26, 2016 rated it liked it
This book needed to be written. It contains facts and figures in easy-to-understand graphs that explain that crucial time when the majority of pilots learn their last and fatal lesson. Along with the visuals are NTSB reports that provide a clear, objective understanding of what went wrong.

Unfortunately, the book lacked a good editor, causing me to endure more effort than necessary to trudge through it. Further, I don't think it would be of much interest to anyone outside the flying community.
James French
Aug 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As many others have said, the statistics leave a bit to desired, but raw accident rates are still interesting reading. Where I dropped the start is that the final chapter departs from (an otherwise excellent) example & evidence style and is an assessment of the pilot persona as the author sees it. It's a bit of a sweeping generalisation and necessarily a good fit for private pilots - the books intended audience.

Despite those nitpicks, the book is otherwise a great read and I'd highly recomme
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A well written, very readable book on what kills inexperienced pilots. A must read for pilots both new and experienced. What is really remarkable is that this author has managed to describe some very technical subjects in a way that a interested non pilot can easily understand. An expensive book but Amazon offer a seven day free trial on the Kindle edition.
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
A book with answers to young and experienced pilots who sometimes ask themselves, what happened? how is that posible? a must for any pilot.
May 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book should be the first thing you do after you pass your check ride. Very helpful, very scary.
Giorgio Weston
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Very well structured and interesting content. I would agree with other reviewers that the math is shaky at best, but the content is still very valuable.
Michael De Paola
Nov 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
An interesting thesis and great accident accounts, but a little too much statistical voodoo for my taste to earn the fifth star.
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good overview of safe flying and common causes of accidents based on reviews of NTSB reports.
Malcolm Smith
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Nov 10, 2016
Robert Hepple
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Published in 2001, The Killing Zone is an analysis of the causes of flying accidents amongst general aviation pilots with 50-300 hours of flying experience. The statistics are based on data accumulated in the USA from 1989-2000, and is broken down into different types of accidents. These range from the more blatant types of abuse of the system like alcohol and drug abuse whilst flying, to more basic problems like VFR pilots flying in bad weather, or something as basic as dealing with a blocked p ...more
Caitlin Russell
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Interesting, but uses wrong statistics 1 1 Dec 24, 2014 01:04PM  
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