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Odds Of Airborne Terror  
User currently offlineCrewchief From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1568 times:

There's an interesting calculation of the odds of airborne terror at http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/12/odds-of-airborne-terror.html The odds are for US traffic (originating, departing, or both within the US)

In short, the page says:

1) One terrorist incident per 16,553,385 departures

2) One terrorist incident per 11,569,297,667 miles flown

3) One incident per 3,105 years airborne

4) The odds of being on a given departure which is the subject of a terrorist incident have been one in 10,408,947 over the past decade.

And the odds of being struck by lightning? One in 500,000.

12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMMEPHX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1521 times:



Quoting Crewchief (Thread starter):
There's an interesting calculation of the odds of airborne terror at http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/12/odds-of-airborne-terror.html The odds are for US traffic (originating, departing, or both within the US)

In short, the page says:

1) One terrorist incident per 16,553,385 departures

2) One terrorist incident per 11,569,297,667 miles flown

3) One incident per 3,105 years airborne

4) The odds of being on a given departure which is the subject of a terrorist incident have been one in 10,408,947 over the past decade.

And the odds of being struck by lightning? One in 500,000.

thanks for the perspective, goes someway to demonstrating that the current protections do help mitigate the risks, though we should remain vigilant to the ever changing methods of the terrorists but sometimes we only know what they are once they've exploited a loophole (bit like a computer virus really).

And the odds of dieing in a car crash? around 1 in 7,000. (in the USA).


User currently offlineAFGMEL From Australia, joined Jul 2007, 744 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 1478 times:

About 120,000 US citizens die from accidents each year of which about 45,000 are in motor vehicles. Why everyone is scared of terrorists is beyond me.


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User currently offlineTharanga From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 1865 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 1450 times:



Quoting AFGMEL (Reply 2):
Why everyone is scared of terrorists is beyond me.

Why are people afraid of flying in general, when driving is more dangerous?

Psychology is a funny thing. People are not innately tuned for statistical analysis of risk.

Yet, the psychology is somewhat self-fulfilling. Terrorists know that people freak out about plane crashes, so they try to cause them. And then because people freak out, the economy is affected in very real ways.

I do sometimes wonder why terrorists are so fixated on aviation. This maybe helps explain it. There are so many relatively unprotected targets out there, outside of aviation. I'm thankful they apparently don't find these appealing.


User currently offlineEugdog From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2001, 518 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 1448 times:

I do take your point about the odds of a terrorist incident.

However the odds of an future attack on a UK originating flight to the USA is much higher then those odds given above. This is because of the large number of pakistani and other muslim groups living in the UK who do not require a Visa to enter the US This is a large pool from which terrorist can find recruit militants from. Also the close relationship between the UK and the US makes it a UK originating flight to the US first choice for any Al Quaeda attack!

Sorry but I am still scared to board a US bound flight from the uk!


User currently offlineTharanga From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 1865 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 1424 times:



Quoting Eugdog (Reply 4):
Sorry but I am still scared to board a US bound flight from the uk!

Even if one such flight per year were targeted, your odds of arriving safely are still extremely favorable to you.

With this mentality, you would also be afraid to be in any populated area or well-known location. That's no way to live, and given the statistics, a bit silly.


User currently offlineSpacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3629 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1372 times:



Quoting AFGMEL (Reply 2):
About 120,000 US citizens die from accidents each year of which about 45,000 are in motor vehicles. Why everyone is scared of terrorists is beyond me.

Me too. There are many, many ways to die that are far more likely than being the target of a terrorist attack, and most of them are fully preventable. A person will freak out at the thought of a potential terrorist attack, but feel no qualms about texting while driving or keeping a gun in their house or even eating rare meat. All of these put you at statistically much higher risk of death than a terrorist attack.

I have never understood why some people are so frightened of all the wrong things.



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User currently offlineCrewchief From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1367 times:

A small point to add to the discusssion: the odds were calculated using history. They are good for looking at the past ten years. Forward, not so much. To the extent that past is not prologue, the odds do not apply to the future. They certainly say nothing about any particular future flight. The odds there are either zero or one.

The comparison to lightning was also invalid. Lightning is a naturally occurring event. Terrorism is not.

Still, one in 10.5 million is hard to ignore.


User currently offlineTharanga From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 1865 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 1344 times:



Quoting Spacecadet (Reply 6):

I have never understood why some people are so frightened of all the wrong things.

Scale, story and the illusion of control. Lots of people die in a single plane crash, so it becomes noteworthy. Few people die in each car crash or other accident. The scale and the politics gives a compelling media narrative.

And while driving while texting is dangerous, people think they're in control of the situation. They aren't in control of somebody slipping plastic explosives through airport security.


User currently offlineRcair1 From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1323 posts, RR: 52
Reply 9, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 1299 times:
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What this ignores is the magnitude of the incident when terrorists do attack.

9/11 - "one" incident, > 3000 died and several economies severely hurt (how many people died because of that).

One incident on a A380 - ~500 people, compared to a car - 2 or 3



rcair1
User currently offlineCrewchief From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 1287 times:



Quoting Rcair1 (Reply 9):
What this ignores is the magnitude of the incident when terrorists do attack.

Quite true, the odds only address the likelihood of the event, not the magnitude.

But that doesn't always matter. If you want to calculate the odds of a past departure that you were on being in a terrorist incident, the odds were 1 in 10.4 million or so....


User currently offlineTharanga From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 1865 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1235 times:



Quoting Rcair1 (Reply 9):
What this ignores is the magnitude of the incident when terrorists do attack.

9/11 - "one" incident, > 3000 died and several economies severely hurt (how many people died because of that).

One incident on a A380 - ~500 people, compared to a car - 2 or 3

In these stats, he also included events where nobody died. so it can go either way.

But if you want the stats by fatalities, instead of incidents, he also presents those numbers.

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/...re-as-friendly-as-ever-911-al.html


User currently offlineSandyb123 From UK - Scotland, joined Oct 2007, 1109 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1214 times:
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Quoting Tharanga (Reply 3):
Psychology is a funny thing. People are not innately tuned for statistical analysis of risk.

I think it boils down to control. In a motor vehicle there is an element of control (or at least perceived control) whereas in a plane you are completely out of control at 35,000 ft, travelling at 500mph. But I agree, statistically irrational.

Sandyb123



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