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Statistically Speaking, How Likely Is A Diversion  
User currently offlineUshermittwoch From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2965 posts, RR: 16
Posted (4 years 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 3186 times:

Hi!

So I take a flight every three to four days, have been flying for the last 26 years (quite a lot of flying) and have never had a diversion.

Thus, I am wondering if I should have statistically have run into a diversion (medical, wx, mx) or if I still have a lot of flying to do. Not that I am hoping for one.  

[Edited 2010-09-15 02:29:30]


Where have all the tri-jets gone...
30 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSurfandSnow From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 2865 posts, RR: 30
Reply 1, posted (4 years 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 3167 times:

Quoting Ushermittwoch (Thread starter):
So I take a flight every three to four days, have been flying for the last 26 years (quite a lot of flying) and have never had a diversion.

You should consider yourself lucky. I have flown far less than you have, and have endured two diversions (one due to mx, one to wx). They aren't fun - in both cases I ended up spending a miserable night in the intermediate connecting city. Though, I guess I would have never paid Oklahoma a visit if it wasn't for my ORD-IAH flight diverting to TUL!  .

Quoting Ushermittwoch (Thread starter):
Thus, I am wondering if I should have statistically have run into a diversion (medical, wx, mx) or if I still have a lot of flying to do. Not that I am hoping for one.

A lot of it depends on where you fly. Statistically speaking, you stand a far greater chance of getting diverted when flying into ASE than KOA!



Flying in the middle seat of coach is much better than not flying at all!
User currently offlineoly720man From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 6728 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (4 years 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 3098 times:

The trouble with statistics are that they are statistics and are, essentially, applying some feel for randomness.

As pointed out above, it depends on the circumstances. You've got more chance of a diversion in hurricane season than when the weather's better, or in winter rather than summer. If you're only flying around Europe there is probably less likelihood of diversion because of the generally better conditions and equipment and there's no accounting for medical or other passenger issues..

Even at odds of 14million:1 people still win the lottery. And others never win. It can happen, it's just unlikely.



wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
User currently offlinesilentbob From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2096 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (4 years 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 3045 times:

I haven't had one yet and I average more than 70 flights a month

User currently offlineGCT64 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2007, 1398 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (4 years 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2967 times:

In 1200 flights I have had:

3 diversions (2 diversions from EDI to GLA when the runway at EDI was blocked/unavailable, 1 from Perth to EDI in a light a/c due to weather); plus
2 emergency landings at locations other than the intended destination, so these should probably also be classified as diversions - both of these were in helicopters.



Flown in: A30B,A306,A310,A319,A320,A321,A332,A333,A343,A346,A388,BA11,BU31,B190, B461,B462,(..51 types..),VC10,WESX
User currently offlineswiftski From Australia, joined Dec 2006, 2701 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (4 years 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2955 times:

Quoting silentbob (Reply 3):
I haven't had one yet and I average more than 70 flights a month

As a passenger I've had one, and at that time was flying only approx twice per year.


User currently offlinedwcontroller From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 153 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2938 times:

Quoting Ushermittwoch (Thread starter):
So I take a flight every three to four days, have been flying for the last 26 years

Lets call this 90 flights a year for 25 years = 2,280 flights (rounded).

Yes, I would say its pretty amazing that you haven't encountered a diversion yet. But like someone else said the destinations also have a lot to do with it, so you would have to figure out the statistical math of a diversion for each city pair in the world...might take a while.



Best phrase to hear at the airport - "All standbys have been cleared and may board at this time"
User currently offlineVMCAVMCG From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (4 years 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2890 times:

As an active Captain, I have been flying for over 30 years commercially and have over 22,000 hours. I have had only 6 diversions in my career. 2 were enroute for mechanical issues, two were from weather issues at the original destination. And the two others were diversions immediately after takeoff back to the original airport.

User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6031 posts, RR: 14
Reply 8, posted (4 years 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2871 times:

Of the roughly 72,800 flights I've worked over the past few years, I've only had about 70 diversions, and of those, only 2 due to medical, with about 25 going to something mechanical, including air turnbacks. Still, that's roughly less than 0.0001% of my total flights.

edit- included another mech possibility into the equation.

[Edited 2010-09-15 05:44:03]


Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineBNAOWB From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 398 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (4 years 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2865 times:

A related question: Are "aborted" flights (flights that take off and then are turned back to the origin airport) as unlikely as diversions?

While I have never been on a diverted flight, my one "aborted" flight was TW ATL-BOS in 1993 when our landing gear did not go up. We were returned to ATL and had to wait 6 hours for a replacement plane from MSY.


User currently offlineAloha717200 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4502 posts, RR: 15
Reply 10, posted (4 years 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2801 times:

I experienced my first diversion ever on August 4 on a DL flight DTW-DEN. Big thunderstorm moved over the field and shut it down, so we diverted to COS. I caught a flight from COS rather than head back to DEN, which ended up being the smart decision as they were still waiting on the ramp while I took off for SLC on an OO CRJ!

I only fly, at most, about twice a year (if you're counting by roundtrips rather than flight segments). Money doesn't really allow for more than that (except in a couple years' cases). However, for statistical reasons lets count segments here, and factor in destinations:

1995: SLC-SEA, SEA-SLC 2 segments
2000: SLC-SAN, LAX-SLC 2 segments
2002: SLC-LAX, LAX-SLC 2 segments
2003: SLC-LAS, LAS-SNA, SNA-LAS, LAS-SLC 4 segments
2004: SLC-PDX, PDX-SLC, SLC-ATL, ATL-MCO, MCO-ATL, ATL-SLC, SLC-LAS, LAS-BUR, SNA-LAS, LAS-SLC, SLC-SFO, SFO-LAX, LAX-SFO, SFO-SLC, SLC-MSP, MSP-MCO, MCO-MSP, MSP-SLC 18 segments
2005: SLC-RNO 1 segment
2006: SLC-PHX, PHX-LAX, LAX-AKL, AKL-MEL, MEL-ADL, ADL-SYD, SYD-LAX, LAX-PHX, PHX-SLC 9 segments
2007: SLC-PHX, PHX-LAS, LAS-SJC, SJC-LAS, LAS-SLC 5 segments
2008: SLC-DEN, DEN-SLC 2 segments
2009: PIH-SLC, SLC-PIH 2 segments
2010: PIH-SLC, SLC-ORD, ORD-LHR, LHR-NCL, MAN-ATL, ATL-SLC, SLC-PIH, SLC-PHX, PHX-DTW, DTW-ORD, ORD-DTW, DTW-DEN *DIVERSION to COS*, COS-SLC 13 segments

60 segments to date. 1 diversion. That's 1 in 60 for me, for a 1.67% chance of diversion.


Given that many people here have flown a lot more than me, and not had a diversion, I'd say your chances are 1% or below.

[Edited 2010-09-15 06:25:51]

User currently offlinesccutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5519 posts, RR: 28
Reply 11, posted (4 years 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2788 times:

I freely acknowledge my experience is anomalous, but I have had diversions on four (4) flights, and I don't fly (commercially) all that often. Once, on AeroMexico (I mean, who ever heard of thick fog in the middle of arid Mexico?); and three, on American. I think you are much more likely to experience diversions or cancellations when flying to a hub (DFW, in my instance), but that's just an untested and baseless idea.

No real resentment - pilot's discretion is the only standard that matters, and I (when flying myself) have on several occasions had to divert for weather, and safe is always the best course.



...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
User currently offlinefoxbravo From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2997 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (4 years 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2750 times:

I've taken approximately 600 flights, of which four have diverted:

- one returned to departure airport due to a mechanical problem.
- one diverted due to weather at destination, then continued to destination.
- one diverted due to weather at destination, then we were taken by bus to destination.
- one diverted due to weather at destination, then attempted to land at destination, then after two missed approaches diverted to yet another airport, then continued to destination the following morning (I guess technically this was two diversions--not fun)!

That's still well under 1%, and they have been spaced out with roughly 10 years between each one, but some of the other posters have been quite lucky.



Common sense is not so common. -Voltaire
User currently offlinedispatchguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1249 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (4 years 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2715 times:

In my flying, I have had 2 diverts, both for weather. I quit keeping a flight log a long time ago...

In my dispatching, I have had my share of diversions, from weather, mechanical, ATC, bomb threats (one against a flight, and one against an airport - we diverted both), etc. My favorite was, at a regional, the captain left the logbook at the departure airport; my Director of SOC ordered us to go back and get it.

Our maintenance manual had procedures for if we lost the logbook - but we knew right where it was - departure airport operations  

Ooops



Nobody screws you better than an airline job!
User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6651 posts, RR: 11
Reply 14, posted (4 years 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2533 times:

I have experienced my first diversion (weather related) last June, and I have less than 30 flights under the hood, most of them short haul ! I guess the reputation for bad weather of Brittany is at least a little deserved (BES especially, where it happened).


New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2823 posts, RR: 45
Reply 15, posted (4 years 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2518 times:

Quoting Ushermittwoch (Thread starter):
So I take a flight every three to four days, have been flying for the last 26 years (quite a lot of flying) and have never had a diversion.

Thus, I am wondering if I should have statistically have run into a diversion (medical, wx, mx) or if I still have a lot of flying to do.

It seems that you have been very fortunate. I have no idea how many I have had over the years, but I would guess it averages two a year for some reason or another. I think my most recent was a diversion to ORF from JFK when New York got hammered by thunderstorms. I have had three diverts for engine failures, one for a decompression, and a few other airplane-related malfunction-induced diverts. I've also had two for smoke in the cabin and several medical diversions. Not all of these were at my current operator and some were in the USAF. I don't remember all of them I am sure.

I think you are doing well and wish you would fly with me going into JFK especially, as your good luck could only help!  


User currently offlinerichierich From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 4260 posts, RR: 6
Reply 16, posted (4 years 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2446 times:

I have flown hundreds of times commercially in my lifetime - with the majority of flying involving at least one NYC airport. Number of diversions? 0
While on the subject, number of missed approaches: 1
Number of touch-and-goes: 0
Number of cancelled flights: probably a couple of dozen
Number of emergency landings: 0


Sure, it has been close. A young woman a row or two back from me passed out in flight and needed medical attention on a transcon USA flight. I quickly looked at our moving map and made a mental note that the nearest possibly diversion city was Des Moines, Iowa, possibly DEN if we stretched it out... But, in the proper Monty Python tradition, she was "not quite dead yet" and seemed to bounce back enough for us to continue our flight to somewhere on the west coast!

Another time an elderly man seemed to be having trouble in the lavatory. After much commotion, he was aided back to his seat and given fluids, etc. Although the lav was "out of service" for the remainder of the flight, and it appeared the flight deck was notified of the situation, the man did nto require any additional first aid or help and we did not divert.

Of course, there may have been mechanical issues that have almost prompted a diversion or two but so far none have happened to me. I guess I just have to keep flying!!  



None shall pass!!!!
User currently offlineBlueFlyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 4000 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (4 years 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2427 times:
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Facts and statistics are funny.
All my diversions were on the hometown carrier flying back into the hometown airport. And yet, off the top of my head, I'd estimate the hometown carrier accounts for about 5% of my flying, far behind 5 other carriers.



I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25311 posts, RR: 22
Reply 18, posted (4 years 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2427 times:

In roughly 3,000 flights I've had 10 diversions -- 6 due to weather, 2 due to technical problems, 2 unscheduled fuel stops due to winds.

[Edited 2010-09-15 15:27:06]

User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6651 posts, RR: 11
Reply 19, posted (4 years 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2414 times:

My diversion started with a missed approach, in fact. I was looking (and filming) at the window for the landing, we were in a thick cloud for some time, and when I finally saw the ground, we were so low I couldn't believe it ! I estimate the runway was 1 to 1.5 nm away, but almost instantly a go around was initiated, and then we diverted to a place with better weather (UIP). I must admit I loved it !  

The town of Quimper (UIP) is in fact in the light these days because the mayor asked major television channels to put it on their weather maps to show that the weather is not the same as Brest (BES) in whole Brittany ! 



New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently offlineBrick From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 1585 posts, RR: 7
Reply 20, posted (4 years 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2395 times:

Since 1994, I've logged 905 commercial flights in my flight log. I have never experienced a diversion. That's including approximately 100 flights I wasn't saving boarding passes for at the time and are not logged.

I came close to having two. Both were due to weather. A Delta flight DEN-ATL in 2004 almost resulted in a diversion to HSV (ironically my destination) due to bad weather at ATL related to the remants of Hurricane Jeane. In 2009 on a Delta flight from ATL-DEN, heavy snow and poor visibility at DEN almost caused a diversion to CYS. That is as close as I've come in over 1000 flights.



A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man...
User currently offlinechase From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 1054 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (4 years 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 2208 times:

This is an interesting thread. I used to be a software engineer for an airline, and worked on a program to track ACARS messages and assign gates. In software (and perhaps other fields?) we have what's known as "the 80/20 rule" which is that 20% of your effort will get you 80% of your goal, and the other 80% of your effort is in pursuit of the last 20% of the goal. Anyway, I can say that this was definitely the case writing the code to handle diversions - lots of effort to write that..all for something that almost never happened.

My personal record is about 250 total flights, 0 diversions but 1 go-around.


User currently offlinefloridaflyboy From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 2013 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (4 years 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 2148 times:

In my career as an FA (850 flights), I had 3 diversions. I knew other people who had that many in their first year alone. I guess it all depends


Good goes around!
User currently offlinetexan From New Zealand, joined Dec 2003, 4278 posts, RR: 52
Reply 23, posted (4 years 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 2117 times:

One flight a few years back (3-4), AA BOS-DFW started a steep descent into LIT because of a passenger in distress. The passenger recovered, though, and we continued to DFW.

In July, I flew BWI-DTW-TUL-DFW on DL. I'll let you guess which stop was not scheduled. A thunderstorm popped up over DFW for a brief time, so traffic patterns had people doing crazy eights up into Missouri. We needed more fuel. No big deal except that it was damn hot!

Texan



"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library."
User currently offlinexjramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2461 posts, RR: 50
Reply 24, posted (4 years 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 2096 times:

I have probably close to 400,000 miles in the last 4 years and I have worked a lot of diversions however I have never been on one myself. And that included 3 years of living in Florida. In fact, besides mandatory/regulatory flight training, I just experienced my first go around in a commercial aircraft a few weeks ago and that was over my entire lifetime of flying to date. So color me lucky, I guess.

xjr



Look ma' no hands!
25 OzarkD9S : I've been flying for 45 years, on average of 3-5 times a year. I've experienced 2: 1) TWA from STL to DCA, diverted to IAD due to the loss of our slot
26 rfields5421 : In my opinion - where and when you fly has a great impact on your chances for diversions - at least for weather. If you fly through IAH or DFW or ATL
27 Post contains images Birdwatching : Excellent thread! I'm going to add my stats here. Out of about 400 commercial flights, 1 diverted due to low fuel due to headwinds and the destination
28 TOMMY767 : I've flown about 25,000 miles each year for the last 4 years. In that time It's been mainly cancellations but on MSY-MIA one time on AA in May 2006 we
29 BuyantUkhaa : In about 400 flights I've had two - one because the destination airport was fogged in, and the other because they had forgotten to empty the septic ta
30 DesertJets : In my somewhat limited flying experience over the past two decades: 1 diversion (bad WX @ DCA and had to divert to IND to top off the gas tanks) 1 abo
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