Monday, April 27, 2009

Touch Wood...

...or actually, hug a whole frikkin' tree.

Gaurav got me thinking about this. I found data with the Aircraft Crashes Record Office, Geneva. But here's the good news: Air-flight is becoming safer, or at least that's what the numbers seem to be saying.

The red line is the number of crashes, and the blue line is the number of deaths.

Overall, it looks like a steady drop in both number of crashes and deaths since the early eighties. There is a spike in early forties - I wonder why. I still need to postulate and hypothesize reasons/caveats for this, but I thought I'd put up the data first.

This also ended up being my first swivel post - lookit here. Also, as an aside, a belated happy one-year birthday to little Shaurya Sane, since his dad is plane crazy.



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8 comments:

skimpy said...

don't think this distinguishes between civil and military. so i suppose early 40s is WW2

Mr. D said...

skimp, i thought about that. you're partly right - when it comes to troop transport, etc.

the data source explicitly says commercial aircraft.

"...

Only are registered accidents which implicate aircrafts capable of transporting at least 6 passengers, besides the crew. Are not counted helicopters, balloons, hot air balloons, airships, gliders, fighters, and all other aircraft which do not correspond to the criterions mentioned above.

In military aviation are taken into consideration only the following types of aircraft : troop transport, surveillance, reconaissance and logistic support. "

Anonymous said...

The Y-axis of the figure says "relative values", the text below says 'number of crashes'. Presumably the text should actually say that it is some sort of a ratio of two numbers, one of which is possibly the maximum something. And is this ratio done after normalizing for total number that flew type of thing?

Avanti Sané said...

Relieving data, that. I, for one ,am a very nervous flyer.

Thanks for the birthday wishes :)
And keeping in mind his "plane crazy" Dad , am just happy that his first word was "Mama" and not "Boeing".

Mr. D said...

@Anon. No it's not been normalised for air traffic - no access to that data yet. I agree about your crib about the chart labeling - I had a simpler chart in mind, this is a standard swivel one which i couldn't change much, and it's unclear.

@Avanti. lol.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I was just being picky. Without knowing the absolute numbers and what they represent, it is difficult to say, just from that graph, as to whether or not flying has indeed become safer.
Do we have fewer crashes per flight? Do we have fewer deaths per crashed flight? Is the distribution of crashing-potential across flights peaked on maybe 1-2 (presumably non-Qantas) airlines? Or is the fact that we've got an orders of magnitude times the number of flight journeys compensating for everything? I guess not, but just checking...

Mr. D said...

@Anon. Yep, it's difficult to say it without the hard numbers.

But.

If one assumes that commercial air-traffic has steadily increased over time (which is a fair assumption imho) with the exception of recessionary years, then it's easier to say that, eh?

An aside on Qantas: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/jan/21/theairlineindustry.travel

Anonymous said...

I'm being pedantic, but...What if the absolute numbers told you that the event of a flight crashing is an extremely rare thing, and has gotten even rarer over time. But if a flight does crash, every passenger meets their maker. Given the increased size of flights these days, one big double-decker airbus crash and your curves would be looking crazy. Given the extremely rare nature of this event (a plane crash), these sorts of numbers might not tell you much, thats all.