I think what's fun about flying is that things don't work out. We plan as best we can, but then we're forced to improvise. Improvising is easier if you've planned, but it's never the plan you envisioned before you took off--or it wouldn't be an adventure. Problems with weather, problems with getting gas, problems with ATC routing, whatever. We sometimes complain about the problems, but reading John's piece, it occurs to me that solving problems is what makes flying fun.
I know you were waiting with baited breath for the annual release of the Nall report, and it's here! The punchline is that the fatal accident rate is down to its lowest levels ever recorded--less than one fatal accident per 100,000 flight hours (non-commercial fixed wing operations) for the first time ever. There are a ton of factors at work here. This reflects improvement in technology generally (more robust engines, better nav systems, better weather data), a society that is becoming less tolerant of risk, and more than a century of experience with flying (and flight instructing).
The accident rate is now low enough that I tell people flying is as safe as you want it to be. If you fly with plenty of gas, on days with good weather, at appropriate altitudes, in the same manner in which you were instructed, flying is safe enough for any sensible level of risk tolerance. Fatal airplane crashes still happen to good, responsible pilots, but they're freak accidents not a statistical probability.