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Home > Blog > How Risky Is Flying An Aeroplane As A Hobby

How risky is flying an aeroplane as a hobby?

Posted 23 Aug 2022

Hobby Flying

This article will help you understand the risks associated with flying and how safe of a hobby it really is, as well as the steps you should take in order to make sure your next flight is a secure and successful one!

Flying is a unique and exciting hobby, but it’s true that there is quite a bit of fear surrounding aviation, especially when it comes to how safe flying an aircraft may be. Most people who are not familiar with the world of aviation and the process of learning to fly may even consider flying a dangerous hobby.

However, if you are someone who longs to fly but is unsure about the risks involved, rest assured, flying really isn’t as scary or dangerous as it's made up to be by those who are on the outside looking in. You have probably heard the famous saying spoken often by pilots in defence of aviation, that the most dangerous part of flying an aeroplane is the drive to the airport!

While it is true that flying an aeroplane isn’t all that risky, especially with modern technology and the rigorous training process involved in learning to fly, it is also true that it is not 100% risk-free. Understanding the risks involved in flying is the first step toward knowing what actions to avoid and ensuring a safe and smooth flight. Almost anything can become a safety hazard if it is not done properly!

You may injure your knee or your head when playing football if you aren’t wearing the necessary protective gear and you may crash your car if you are driving above the speed limit. Similarly, if you are aware of the precautions you need to take and how you need to act in case of an emergency, the risks involved with flying are minimised.

This article will help you understand the risks associated with flying and how safe of a hobby it really is, as well as the steps you should take in order to make sure your next flight is a secure and successful one!




For beginners who are getting into the cockpit of an aeroplane for the first time, a certain level of anxiousness and fear is expected. Flying, while thrilling and exceedingly rewarding, has an impression of being a relatively risky hobby among the general population.

These fears associated with flying are exacerbated when an amateur pilot or one who is currently in training is concerned. When a beginner pilot gets into the cockpit and takes control of an aircraft for the first time, it is understandable that they fear making a mistake that may have disastrous, perhaps even fatal consequences.

This fear leads to many people nipping their passion for aviation in the bud and never actually taking to the skies at all, or parents of young flight enthusiasts discouraging their love of aviation due to the supposed risks involved.

Regardless of these preconceived notions, it is important to understand that student pilots are generally safer and better off when it comes to the minimisation of risks as compared to others. The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, a beginner pilot is accompanied by a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) on all of their flights until they have a certain number of flight hours behind them.

This means that in case a student makes any error when piloting an aircraft, there is an experienced professional always accompanying the beginner to ensure that the flight is a safe and secure one. Secondly, the fear a beginner pilot may associate with flying may actually come in handy, since this fear encourages them to proceed with caution and not be reckless. This means the flights are relatively safer since the pilot acts in a measured and controlled way.



 On average, commercial flights, which involve larger multi-engine aeroplanes, are less likely to encounter accidents as opposed to recreational flights, which most often involve small aeroplanes.

It is true that a large part of the accidents that occur in aviation happen on recreational flights. However, it must be understood that compared to automobiles, small aeroplanes are still relatively safe. The chances of a pilot being involved in a fatal accident are rather slim, however, the danger is more pronounced in the event that an accident does occur.

There are a host of factors that contribute to how safe a flight is, and smaller aeroplanes are more likely to suffer the effects of bad weather or pilot complacency. If the pilot takes the necessary precautions when flying, there really isn’t much to worry about in terms of safety.





Most aviation accidents are a result of bad weather. Flying into a storm unexpectedly or encountering extreme weather can lead to accidents. Smaller aeroplanes are more likely to go off track as a result of strong winds since they do not have the weight to keep them steady like large airliners or other multi-engine aeroplanes.

Flying when it is snowing is also not recommended, and a pilot should exercise added caution if the aeroplane they are flying does not have the equipment to de-ice. If a pilot does not have the necessary Instrument Rating (IR), flying in conditions of impaired visibility is not allowed and is illegal. Pilots without an IR should only fly in conditions in which the sky is clear and their vision will not be impaired.


When it comes to aeroplanes, refuelling isn’t as easy as stopping at your next nearest petrol pump. If an aeroplane runs out of fuel, in the event that the fuel tank was not properly checked or the pilot ended up taking a longer route than expected, finding a suitable refuelling station is not always possible.

Not only is there a possibility of the aeroplane running out of fuel and stopping mid-flight, but in case a suitable area for an emergency landing or refuelling is located, chances are the landing will take place in less-than-ideal conditions with the absence of a proper runway or guiding lights.



 Just as you must ensure your car is up to date with engine checks, oil changes, and tire upkeep, regular aircraft maintenance is key to having a safe and secure flight. If a technical or mechanical issue arises mid-flight, the pilot may have to make an emergency landing or worse.



While many people are overly aware of the risks associated with flying, it’s true that it isn’t as dangerous as it is thought to be. There are many factors that make flying a relatively safe hobby, especially when compared to other activities such as driving an automobile.


Rigorous training

 One of the main factors that lead to a high level of security when it comes to aviation is the fact that becoming a pilot requires long hours of rigorous training. A beginner pilot must master the art of flying before they are allowed to embark on any solo flight.

Certified Flight Attendants (CFI), who are trained professionals in the field, do not let pilots-in-training progress to the next step in their aviation journey until and unless they have mastered the one that comes before it.

For this reason, pilots and their loved ones can rest assured that they will not be pushed out of the nest before they are absolutely ready and capable of flying with ease!



 Becoming a pilot involves a long process of certifications and licensing, and bypassing any of these steps is not a possibility. Not only do pilots require a licence, such as the Private Pilot Licence (PPL) in the case of recreational flyers, but they are also required to undergo strict medical evaluations.

The medical evaluations help ensure that the pilot is both mentally and physically fit to fly. In addition to this, the pilot is not legally allowed to fly in conditions of reduced visibility or in conditions in which there is a dependence on avionics without the necessary ratings.


Lots of room in the sky

 This is an important factor to note when considering the safety of flying an aeroplane. The sky is big and has lots of room, which means the pilot does not have to navigate too much traffic. The pilot is also operating on a vertical as well as a horizontal plane, as opposed to only one plane when driving an automobile. This gives them room for correction if they do end up making a mistake. 



How safe a flight is highly dependent on how prepared a pilot is. The risks involved with flying can be greatly reduced if the pilot is careful. It is true that most of the accidents that occur while flying are due to human error on part of the pilot.

As long as the person in control of the aircraft is careful and calculated with preparation and in-flight safety measures, there really is nothing to worry about. Here are a few tips to help a pilot ensure their next flight is a safe, smooth, and secure one.


Double-check your aircraft’s tank

 This article has previously mentioned the importance of keeping the aircraft’s fuel in check. A pilot needs to ensure that the amount of fuel in the tank is enough for the journey and should also have a backup reserve in case of an emergency or if the flight needs to take a longer alternative route.

 In addition to checking your aeroplane’s tank, be sure to make a list of all possible refuelling stations and airports along the way, as well as suitable areas for emergency landings.  


Make sure you are feeling physically well

When flying an aeroplane, you must be feeling physically well. If you feel like you may be developing a fever or if your sinuses are blocked and the pressure changes may make things worse and cause you added discomfort, wait until you are feeling better.

 Similarly, if you have a stomach ache, you will not be able to make quick decisions and will not be on your A-game during the flight. If you have a chronic illness, be sure to take medication along (unless it induces drowsiness or visual disturbances).  


Get at least eight hours of sleep before flying

 In order to operate to the best of its ability, your brain needs rest. If you are feeling groggy and are not fully concentrating on the flight, you may end up making mistakes when flying which may result in disaster.

Make sure you get a full eight hours of sleep prior to your flight and try not to undertake long-haul flights without stopping for rest.


Keep your mental health in check

 Just as you need to keep your physical health in check, you must be sure that you are mentally fit to fly. High amounts of stress, depressive episodes, or increased levels of anxiety can interfere with your decision-making ability in case of an emergency.


Say no to alcohol

 Just like you should avoid taking any medication that may induce drowsiness or visual disturbances, you should steer clear of alcohol at least 24 hours before you are scheduled to fly and stay away from the alcohol during the flight as well.

Similar to how you shouldn’t drink and drive, you should not, under any circumstances, fly under the influence of alcohol or other drugs as these can severely impair your ability to handle difficult situations and may cause you to make easily avoidable mistakes.


Keep your aircraft well-maintained

Your aircraft needs to be well-maintained. Make sure it has been serviced and is inspected by a licenced engineer. It is important to have a certificate of airworthiness to certify that your aircraft is okay to fly.


Prepare for possible emergencies

No matter how careful you are, there is a possibility that you may encounter an unfortunate situation and possibly end up having to make an emergency landing. In such a case, especially if you end up landing in a remote area, you will need to have a survival kit with you.

This kit should include non-perishable food, water, a tent, a flashlight, and any lifesaving medication you may need to treat injuries or any illnesses. While it is highly unlikely that you will encounter such a situation, it is a good practice to always be prepared for the worst!



 There are many aero clubs across the United Kingdom that offer training services to aspiring pilots. Sherburn Aero Club, located in Leeds, is a great place to kick start your aviation journey. Aero clubs also have the added benefit of giving members access to a community of like-minded individuals who are passionate about flying as well.

Apart from aero clubs, there are also many dedicated flight training academies across the United Kingdom.



 Sherburn Aero Club has been operational since 1964 and is the ideal place for all of your training and flying needs. We cater to brand new flyers who have just started their journey to the skies, as well as seasoned flyers who have been operating aircraft for decades.

With a large fleet of new aircraft and an airfield refurbishment with new runways, hangars, and an extended clubhouse, we cater to brand new flyers who have just started their journey to the skies, as well as seasoned flyers who have been operating aircraft for decades.

If you wish to begin your career in aviation or wish to take to the skies as a hobby, Sherburn’s flight training school offers private and commercial licenses, along with pilot medicals to ensure a smooth journey going forward.

Sherburn offers a dedicated day-long Flight Radiotelephony Operator’s Licence (FRTOL) course for those wishing to get the certification, running the first Sunday of every month.

The club also has a dedicated weather webcam that constantly monitors the meteorological conditions in the aerodrome to help pilots decide whether it's safe to take to the skies or not.

For those who wish to experience the thrill of a flight for fun or to help fuel their aviation dreams, Sherburn offers experience flights for the newbie, as well as the veteran. The flight experience option is also available for people who wish to take to the skies for special occasions, even if they aren’t into aviation in the long run.

Call us on 01977 682 674​​​, email us at flightdesk@sherburnaeroclub.com, or message us via our online contact form for more information on pilot safety and best practices when flying an aeroplane recreationally.


Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash 



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