OK Let me first say that I don't have anything against racers. I don't own one, but I generally have a neutral attitude towards them. Recently there has been a bit of a resurrection of the discussion of whether or not they are safe. My question is this: We accept that Formula 1 drivers take a risk driving cars that are designed to go fast, we accept that Moto-cross riders participate in a risky sport. While there are cars that everyone drives and even motor cycles that the average person could ride,the racing variety are modified from the standard street legal variety. We all seem to accept risk and even death as a part of "playing the game". This is not to say it isn't tragic, or that it is common, but rather we understand that when we are pushing a machine to the edge of its limits sometimes things go wrong, and furthermore it is accepted that the person that gets hurt knew the risks before engaging in the activity. Why is ballooning different? Why are we so afraid that someone might get injured or worse yet killed in a ballooning accident?
I am not trivializing the aspect of death or injury, I am just curious why anyone might think that in balloon competition, when flying to the absolute performance limits of our equipment (be it racer or round balloon), that it is somehow less risky than something like auto racing. Maybe I am off base but I feel that attitude is out there.
I might add that we should do whatever is reasonable to make everyone as safe as possible but I think people are kidding themselves if they think that flying a balloon is a routine thing that has no risk, and competing compounds the risk that is there.
Am I nuts, or have others had the same thoughts?