I have a fear of flight and I'm working on it.

There is an airfield about 40 minutes from me and they offer flying lessons in a Cessna-152 for around 140 euros per hour. Pretty reasonable I think. So, this is my next step. But... I've only ever flown in an A320 / 737. This is because of the (approximate) very low risk of around 1 in 11 million of a fatal incident occurring.

My question is, what is the fatality rate (per million) for flights in a Cessna? I know it will be higher, I just want to know how much.

I did Google and look around, but the stats seem skewed on several sites as they include global incidents, whereas I know Europe is more tightly regulated than some parts of the world. Also, I'm not going to be performing (intentional) aerobatics, so I think we can exclude those cases as well.


1 Answer 1


I can't give an answer on this, but the reasons why are informative. General aviation as a whole has a higher accident rate than commercial aviation, at least in part because of the many varied missions, some of which are inherently higher risk, like:

  • Microlights
  • Homebuilts
  • Cropdusting

So the statistics aren't going to be very much to go on. Additionally as you mention it varies a lot globally, and there's variations for the type of flying, time of day and other factors. Focusing down on the C152 isn't going to give you a good figure because they are an extremely popular training airplane, which is a higher risk activity.

Basically you want to know what the accident rate is for a European Cessna 152 flown in the day by an instructor pilot for non-training purposes, there just isn't any data source for that. It's going to be pretty low I would imagine.

  • $\begingroup$ Your last paragraph is correct, except it is for training purposes, since I will be, well training. $\endgroup$
    – Cloud
    Oct 1, 2018 at 9:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Cloud you won't, not on an introductory flight like that. Sure, the instructor rated pilot is going to let you handle the controls, but don't really expect to learn anything. And he'll be constantly ready to take over. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Oct 1, 2018 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ @jwenting Sure, but I intend to make it a regular thing. $\endgroup$
    – Cloud
    Oct 1, 2018 at 10:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Cloud this answer is important as it highlights that there are different categories of general aviation, each with its own risk levels rendering statistics for "Cessnas" misleading. With that in mind there are very good answers here, focusing on private operations (which, if you're paying an instructor, is not what you will be doing). aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/198/… $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    Oct 1, 2018 at 10:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Cloud in that case, just make sure you have a quality flying school that properly maintains their aircraft and has qualified instructors. In the EU, that'd be as a minimum an EASA certified ATO. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Oct 2, 2018 at 5:06

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