Flying is indeed the safest and fastest transportation method. However, it is usually characterized with accidents due to mechanical failures, human errors, or even through criminal activities (Ansari and Modarress 389). Specifically, over the last past decades, there has been reported several fatal aircraft accidents on a yearly basis globally (Rodrigues et al. 12). In order to get significant lessons regarding the performance as well as safety of the aircraft industry, these accidents must be scientifically investigated.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) needs that any civil aircraft crush be examined by independent bodies that belong to that particular nation where the accident occurred. For this reason, most countries have their independent organizations that take responsibility for these investigations (Wilborn and Foster 102). For instance, the United States has the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the United Kingdom has the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), and Malaysia too has the Department of Civil Aviation. The main reason for carrying out such investigations is to help determine why a plane crash occurred and how events alike to that might be everted in future (Ansari and Modarress 389). Such investigations can sometimes need the involvement of police officers in cases where sabotaging or even some kinds of criminal activities are suspected. It is, therefore, against this background that this paper discusses the Boeings accident statistics summary since 1959 to 2011.
Boeings Statistical Summary
The Boeing Commercial airplanes has been publishing its Statistical Summary of Commercial Jet Airplane Accidents Worldwide Operations each year as from 1959. These summaries have been only based upon its commercial jets planes which weigh more than 27 tonnes (60,000lb). In the summary, a number of definitions are used. First is the accident rate. Accident rate is an expression that is used by the company to denote the measure of accidents for every a million departures. There exists a stronger statistical correlation between departures and accidents as compared to the correlation between flight accidents and, or between passenger miles/km (or freight miles/km) and accidents, as well as the number of airplanes in service and accidents (Wiener 171). For this reason, flight cycles (departures) are employed as the basis for computing rates. The second term used in the summary is airplane collisions. This refers to events that involve more than one airplane which are considered as different events (Hasson and Crotty 101). Another term is fatal accident. By the Boeing Company, this is an accident that ends into fatal injury. Lastly is the hull loss. This implies that airplane is totally damaged or destroyed and is not repaired (Shah et al. 111). Having these definitions right, a summary statistics is as given here below.
To understand the veracity of why departures are used, as opposed to any other parameter, to compute accident rates for the Boeing airplane crashes, the following analyses will be used.
2011 Boeing airplane Accidents: All Accidents - Worldwide Commercial Jet Fleet
Statistical Summary of Boeings Accidents in the year 2011: Adapted from Hasson and Crotty (101).
From the above summary of the 2011 Boeings accidents, it can be noted that nearly all major airplanes suffered accidents either within the U.S. or without its boundaries. With the number of fatal accidents Fatal being four while the serious ones were five, it is clear that 175 persons were on board at the time when the accidents occurred while zero were on external facilities. The total number of hull loss were 13 while that of major accidents was 7 with most of them registering substantial damages.
Among the reasons that was suggested to explain the trend is that despite the fact that there has been progress as well as development in technology along with science which have had dramatic influences on human society, these very developments and progresses have given birth to newer forms of dangers. These have led to substantial increases in both property and human lives losses, a thing that would be inconceivable in the time past (Wiener 175). The trend in aircraft accidents are by no chance has a show of carelessness on those who are involved but rather could indicate that the techniques that are employed to implement the traditional safety parameters initially have attained their limits of effectiveness. According to Wilborn and Foster (121), this could be the case since most of the fundamental safety parameters that were initially taken were limited to punishments as well as reprimands that were aimed at those who were responsible for the plane crashes, along with improvements to planes mechanical aspects resulting from the accidents investigations. As pointed out by Rodrigues et al. such investigations stressed more on technical analyses of accident events that had occurred (21). As such, there was left no question that they gave a backing to sharing of significant data about the mechanical aspects of the accidents, but that the data that was collected was employed in making improvements which lead to substantial results.
Flight Hours, Jet Airplanes in Service, and Departures: Boeings Worldwide Operations from 1992 to 2011
Consider the graph below showing Boeings aircrafts services.
Adapted from Shah et al. (71).
From the above figure, it is clearly evident that there is a positive trend both in the flight hours and the departures. According to Kotha (285), there was a total of 610 million departures made by the airplanes since 1959 globally. Out of that, Boeing airplanes made 458 million departures. Additionally, while here has been 1,094 million flight hours by worldwide planes, Boeing had 826 million since 1959 on its airplanes.
Correlating this with the number of occurrences, it is evident that there is a strong statistical correlation between departures and accidents that occur in the world of aircraft industry. However, there is too little correlation between flight hours and accidents. Similarly, consider the number of Boeing airplanes, as shown below in the graph.
Adapted from Mitchell et al. (330)
The graph shows that both the worldwide fleet and Boeing fleet increased from the year 1992 to 2011. However, there were years when fluctuations were registered. Of the 21,358 globally registered fleets 60,000-pounds-weighing, 12, 561 fleets are Boeings (Shah et al. 52). This indicates that Boeing Company is significantly role playing in the air transport industry.
Furthermore, to help understand the statistics, the accidents are analyzed on the basis of the factors that led to their occurrence. Consider an accident summary by the type of operations that worldwide commercial jet fleets involve in, as presented in the graph below.
From the summary above, there were a total of 1,798 accidents that occurred. Out of these, 1,424 occurred due to passengers, either scheduled passengers or chartered ones. Additionally, 252 were caused by cargo operations while 122 occurred to maintenance test issues, positioning, ferrying, demonstration, and training. It is important to note that 555 of these accidents that were as a result of passengers occurred in U.S. and Canada while 1,243 occurred elsewhere outside the two countries (Ryabinkin 101). Within the same time span, there were 28,553 onboard facilities and 777 external fatalities that resulted from the passenger issue. Of these, 24,427 were due to scheduled passengers while 4,126 were due to chartered flight operations. Cargo on the other hand resulted in 264 onboard facilities with 330 external facilities. The sum total of the onboard facilities at the time of the accidents were 4,547 while the external facilities summed up to 214 (Kotha 291).
From the foregoing, it is important to note that while development and progress in technology along with science has characterized current aircraft industry, it is evident that most accidents occurred during from 1959 to 2011 due to human carelessness as opposed to mechanical failures.
A further summary of the accidents reveal that there was a total of 603 (34%) fatal accidents from 1959 to 2011 while the number of non-fatal accidents during the same time period totaled to 1195 (66%) leading to a total of 1798 total number of accidents (Adapted from Mitchell et al. (341). This is summarized in the table below.
Number of Accidents from 1959 to 2011: Adapted from Ansari and Modarress (377).
Comparing the above table, showing the number of airplane accidents since 1955 to 2011, and the that of 2002 to 2011, it is noted that the number of fatal accidents reduced by a significant percentage to 79 (20% of the total number of accidents) while the number of non-fatal accidents reduced to 325 (80%) (Ryabinkin 101). This is shown in the table below.
Number of Accidents from 2002 to 2011: Adapted from Adapted from Mitchell et al. (347).
Onboard Fatalities and Accident Rates by Year for Worldwide Commercial Jet Fleet from 1959 To 2011
Adapted from Mitchell et al. (341).
The graph above shows something encouraging about accident rates. Generally, there has been a general decrease in the magnitude of all the accidents rates, fatal accidents, and hull loss accidents. Kotha (301) links this to the advance in technology and a number of investigations that have been taken to avert the re-occurrence of similar accidents in future. The investigations facilitated by ICAO has ensured that all companies remain vigilant on the quality of aircraft transport service that they offer to their clients. However, while there may indications that people are currently becoming more careful regarding aircraft services, Rodrigues et al. point out that it may be difficult to eliminate all accidents owing to the fact accidents daily and yearly take different unknown forms, and so there is though as small percentage, accidents still happening to date (75).
For instance, consider the Canadian as well as U.S. operators fatal accident rates by year for the worldwide commercial jet fleet as from 1959 to 2011, given here below in the graph.
Adapted from Adapted from Mitchell et al. (355).
It is clearly evident that the various types of accidents caused by the Boeing as well as other airlines has reduced significantly since 1959 to 2011. Specifically, considering a ten-years (from 2002 to 2011) summary of accident rates by the types of Boeing operations, Hull Loss and Fatal Accidents, globally, a serious decline in the number of fatal accidents is observed, as shown below.
Adapted from Rodrigues et al. (15).
Additionally, considering the onboard fatalities and fatal accidents by the phase of flight during the same ten-year period, interesting facts can be made, as shown below. The same is the case with distribution of onboard facilities and fatal accidents, as indicated in the subsequent graph.
Adapted from Ryabinkin (121).
Adapted from Kotha (306).
To this end, it can be conclude that despite the fact that air transport is the safest and fastest method of transportation, it is not safeguarded from accidents. In fact, it is one of the methods whose accidents are very tragic in most cases. For this reason, nations have been required by the ICAO to conduct scientific investigations into the issues that lead to these accidents so that corrective measures can be taken. The investigation have significantly contributed to reduction in the number of fatal accidents to 20%, as has been mentioned above, with their distributions being reasonable. The main reason that has been given to back the decrease in the number, especially since 1959 to 2011 is advancement in technology that has impelled human beings to be more careful. N...
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