What is the difference between "careless and reckless" and just plain incompetence? It is intent. An incompetent pilot lacks the knowledge, skill, and training to be good. The careless and reckless pilot intends to be bad.
Everything here is from the references shown below, with a few comments in an alternate color.
Some acts of carelessness are premeditated and are in a category I like to call "should be banned for life" such that the pilot should be stripped of his or her license with no chance of getting it back. For example:
Photo: Calbraith Rodgers and the wreckage of the Wright Model EX, 1911 (public domain)
Powered flight was still in its infancy by the time 1912 rolled around, but crowds around the world were treated to exciting air shows featuring aircraft from the Wright Brothers, Glen Curtis, and a growing number of competitors. Pilots tried to out do each other to amaze their audiences and therefore the box office draw. One of the best was Cal Rodgers, a holder of a few aviation firsts.
[Goldstone, pp. 324-330]
The death toll continued that year:
Two weeks later, on July 1, at a meet in Boston, Harriet Quimby was flying at about seven thousand feet when her aircraft pitched forward violently and ejected her and a passenger to their deaths.
[14 CFR 91, ¶91.13]
Cartoon: Vomit, from Chris Manno
It isn't that carelessness and recklessness has gotten worse over the years. But it is easier to spot these days because careless and reckless pilots tend to be proud of their exploits and YouTube is such an easy thing to show off one's carelessness and recklessness. Here are just a few examples.
14 CFR 91, Title 14: Aeronautics and Space, General Operating and Flight Rules, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation
Goldstone, Lawrence, Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtis, and the Battle to Control the Skies, Ballantine Books, New York, 2014.
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