A single-engine airplane crashed Wednesday afternoon near Elkins while returning from a trip to Little Rock, but no one was hurt in the wreck, according to emergency crews. (Photo: KFSM)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Four private-plane crashes are raising questions about the safety of single engine aircraft.
More than a century after humans learned how to defy gravity, Central Flying Service Flight Instructor Cal Freeny said, there's still something enthralling about flight.
"I think it's man's dream from the beginning. You know, ever since you see a bird. It's a lot of fun, you know, to fly is fun. I think that's what draws a lot of the guys around here to do it."
Freeny has been a pilot and instructor for 13 years and says in light of the recent crashes flying is still the safest mode of travel.
"I think there's so many car crashes these days, that it's overlooked. An airplane crashes it's all the sudden headline news. Statistically, it's far safer to fly than it is to drive."
Freeny said for private pilots, mechanical issues or bad weather can be devastating, but with proper training those incidents can be averted.
"We're constantly training for any situation that might arise in aviation to avoid those situations."
Freeny says it's how you deal with those risks that keeps you safe.
Part of what he teaches student pilots helps them survive straight stalls, becoming disoriented and dealing with turbulence in the air.
"It's very safe when your trained and you conduct yourself accordingly, it can be very safe."
Basic training for a pilot's license is 40 hours.
And every pilot, student or licensed must perform pre and post flight checks on the aircraft.
Freeny says just like anything else, there's always a risk involved.
"Most people are safe. Like you said, there's hundreds of airplanes coming in and out of here everyday without an incident once."
Small planes average four to five accidents a week according to the NTSB.
Plane crashes account for nearly 500 deaths in the U.S. every year.