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Pilot survives second crash; should he give up flying?

Engine failure leads to a crash for an amateur pilot from Connecticut -- six years after an accident in a similar plane.

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Two plane crashes might make some pilots think again, surely. NBCConnecticut screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Planes are nothing more than pieces of technology that happen to fly.

For many passengers, there's an insecurity that comes with riding inside a piece of metal up in the air, regardless of the state of technology.

For pilots, there's a knowledge that the technology or even just the metal might fail. One amateur pilot knows this all too well.

Danny Hall, 48, of Torrington, Conn., crash-landed his Skyline Cessna on Saturday and somehow walked away relatively unscathed. At least physically.

As the Associated Press reports, Hall already survived a crash in a similar plane six years ago. He was the pilot in that one, too.

On Saturday, Hall said his plane was losing power and there was nothing he could do to prevent it. He radioed air traffic control at Hartford-Brainard airport and said: "Tell my kids I love them if I don't make it."

Somehow, the plane missed populated areas and buildings and ended up on a road used only by buses. A wing broke off the plane.

You may think that being in a plane crash might put you off flying. However, six years ago a similar plane with Hall at the controls crashed. Hall told the AP that in the first incident, the FAA concluded mice had made a home in the Cessna. When he activated a de-icing device, the mice were sucked into the plane's carburetor.

The engine gave up the ghost, and the plane crashed into a river.

Perhaps there are some pilots who simply love flying too much and consider a crash one of the hazards of their enthusiasm. I wonder, though, whether Hall, who owns a roofing company, may think he's had one stroke of fortune more than he should have been allotted.

The AP says he's thinking of giving up flying. However, Fox Connecticut reports he told them: "I said getting into another plane crash, it's never going to happen. It's like a one in a 10,000,000 chance, and to survive is a one in 20,000,000 chance. I survived. I love flying, I always have."

But can you rely on probability theory when you've undergone two such similar experiences? It's true that people have survived two plane crashes before. University of Michigan basketball player Austin Hatch is one. His father, though, survived the first and died in the second.

No amount of math, however, will persuade some (me, for example) that two plane crashes while you're the pilot aren't two too many.