PDXflyer31
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What Are The Odds Of This?

Fri Jun 02, 2006 5:08 pm

I was reading Varig's history on wikipedia and found out they had two fatality crashes in the 1970's, six years apart, that were flown by the SAME CAPTAIN.

He obviously survived the first one, but tragically 123 of the 134 people on that flight perished when the B707 crashed near Paris in 1973. This crash was caused by an uncontained fire in the rear lavatory, and was not the pilot's fault (so we can't say he crashed two planes because of his inability to fly properly).

Then in 1979, he was the captain of another B707, this time a freighter, that disappeared 30 minutes after taking off from Tokyo. The aircraft likely impacted the water, for unknown reasons, in a very steep dive as no traces of wreckage were ever found.

If the second crash occured due to some kind of mechanical failure, as is likely the case, what are the odds of one poor captain to be involved in two major airline crashes within 6 years, due to factors completely out of his control? That's one guy who definitely picked the wrong profession.
 
viv
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RE: What Are The Odds Of This?

Fri Jun 02, 2006 5:16 pm

The odds, while definitely high, wouid be difficult to compute - even approximately - without more data (total hours flown by the captain, overall safety statistics for the airline and also for the 707, maintenance records for the aircraft in question, number of captains in the airline regularly flying the 707, etc.).

Based on the available data, it cannot be said with any reliability that the captain in question "picked the wrong profession" - the odds against two fatal but unrelated incidents in any other profession he might have chosen cannot be compared with the odds against a similar occurrence in the airline pilot profession because the latter odds are unknown on the basis of the data available. There are other professions that are certainly more dangerous.

[Edited 2006-06-02 10:24:15]
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scoliodon
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RE: What Are The Odds Of This?

Fri Jun 02, 2006 5:28 pm

Quoting Viv (Reply 1):
There are other professions that are certainly more dangerous.

How about either the NFL or Alaskan crab fishing?!  Big grin
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PDXflyer31
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RE: What Are The Odds Of This?

Fri Jun 02, 2006 5:36 pm

Quoting Viv (Reply 1):
Based on the available data, it cannot be said with any reliability that the captain in question "picked the wrong profession" - the odds against two fatal but unrelated incidents in any other profession he might have chosen cannot be compared with the odds against a similar occurrence in the airline pilot profession because the latter odds are unknown on the basis of the data available. There are other professions that are certainly more dangerous

Yeah its definitely more safe than many physical labor jobs out there, especially those involving machinery. I meant he picked the wrong profession only in hindsight, kind of to highlight the irony of his demise against such incalculable odds. I think he would have had a better chance of getting struck by lightning twice.

At least he died doing what I'm sure he loved and dreamed about.
 
kappel
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RE: What Are The Odds Of This?

Fri Jun 02, 2006 5:40 pm

I was watching "African Hijack" a while ago on NGC (Air Crash Investigation) and the captain of the Ethiopian flight said this was the second hijack on a plane he flew. How about those odds?
The first one ended ok, but this time he had to ditch in the ocean. I think most people here know this case.
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viv
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RE: What Are The Odds Of This?

Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:12 pm

Quoting PDXflyer31 (Reply 3):
I think he would have had a better chance of getting struck by lightning twice.

I have twice been in a house that was struck by lightning (the same house, two separate occasions). While lots of data on lightning strikes are available to enable the calculation of the odds of two strikes in the same place, I cannot calculate the relative odds of consecutive lightning strikes versus two air accidents involving the same captain, because I do not have enough data on those air accidents, as I have already mentioned in my previous reply.

Quoting PDXflyer31 (Reply 3):
At least he died doing what I'm sure he loved and dreamed about.

You say you are sure, but do you have any data to support your certainty? It may have been 'just a job' to him. Or not.

[Edited 2006-06-02 16:19:35]
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FlyDeltaJets
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RE: What Are The Odds Of This?

Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:21 pm

Quoting Scoliodon (Reply 2):
Quoting Viv (Reply 1):
There are other professions that are certainly more dangerous.

How about either the NFL or Alaskan crab fishing?!

True like the ramp itself.

But the pilot must have loved his job to come back after the first one, and I'm sure one of the resons for him coming back is people telling him what are the odds of it happening again.
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viv
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RE: What Are The Odds Of This?

Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:27 pm

Quoting Kappel (Reply 4):
captain of the Ethiopian flight said this was the second hijack on a plane he flew. How about those odds?

Was it the SAME aircraft each time? Your post is ambiguous on this point.

Of course, the odds against that would not necessarily be higher than the odds against the same captain being involved in two hijackings on two different aircraft, just as the odds against the same number being drawn three times consecutively in a lottery are no higher than the odds against any other three numbers being drawn; numbers have no memory or knowledge of other numbers.

It would depend on such factors as the routes flown, the frequency that captain was rostered on those routes, the political situation in the region concerned, etc.

Again, more data would be needed to enable calculation of the odds.
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viv
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RE: What Are The Odds Of This?

Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:28 pm

Quoting FlyDeltaJets (Reply 6):
But the pilot must have loved his job to come back after the first one, and I'm sure one of the resons for him coming back is people telling him what are the odds of it happening again.

Not necessarily. It may have been the only job he could get.

Again, more data would be needed to support your belief.
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viv
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RE: What Are The Odds Of This?

Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:31 pm

Quoting Viv (Reply 8):
people telling him what are the odds of it happening again.

Those odds cannot be calculated, on the basis of the data available. What those people told him was speculation - and therefore of no value from a statistical point of view.
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Gr8Circle
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RE: What Are The Odds Of This?

Sat Jun 03, 2006 4:43 am

Quoting Viv (Reply 5):
I have twice been in a house that was struck by lightning (the same house, two separate occasions). While lots of data on lightning strikes are available to enable the calculation of the odds of two strikes in the same place, I cannot calculate the relative odds of consecutive lightning strikes versus two air accidents involving the same captain, because I do not have enough data on those air accidents, as I have already mentioned in my previous reply.

The record is held, I believe, by a US ranger I think, who was struck by lightning on 7 different occassions....  wideeyed 
 
PDXflyer31
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RE: What Are The Odds Of This?

Sat Jun 03, 2006 5:45 am

Quoting PDXflyer31 (Thread starter):
The odds, while definitely high, wouid be difficult to compute - even approximately - without more data (total hours flown by the captain, overall safety statistics for the airline and also for the 707, maintenance records for the aircraft in question, number of captains in the airline regularly flying the 707, etc.).



Quoting Viv (Reply 5):
While lots of data on lightning strikes are available to enable the calculation of the odds of two strikes in the same place, I cannot calculate the relative odds of consecutive lightning strikes versus two air accidents involving the same captain, because I do not have enough data on those air accidents, as I have already mentioned in my previous reply.



Quoting Viv (Reply 7):
Was it the SAME aircraft each time? Your post is ambiguous on this point.



Quoting Viv (Reply 8):
Not necessarily. It may have been the only job he could get.

Again, more data would be needed to support your belief.



Quoting Viv (Reply 9):
Those odds cannot be calculated, on the basis of the data available. What those people told him was speculation - and therefore of no value from a statistical point of view.

Viv, I think you need to relax a little bit. Nobody is asking you to come up with a complex formula to calculate odds which can't readily be calculated. This is just a discussion, not a science lab. Of course nobody has any "data to support their belief" that the pilot loved his job, etc. You've basically said the same thing in every one of your replies in this thread.
 
kangarooman
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RE: What Are The Odds Of This?

Sat Jun 03, 2006 5:45 am

To go slightly off topic the pilot of the first aircraft hijack in history in Peru was hijacked a few years after the first i think the first was in 1931 and the second in 1935 or 39

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viv
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RE: What Are The Odds Of This?

Sat Jun 03, 2006 3:25 pm

Quoting Gr8Circle (Reply 10):
Viv, I think you need to relax a little bit.

I was wondering when someone would call me on this. I was just having fun ... playing the mad statistician ...

The joke survived longer than I thought it would.
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PDXflyer31
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RE: What Are The Odds Of This?

Sat Jun 03, 2006 3:59 pm

Quoting Viv (Reply 13):
I was just having fun ... playing the mad statistician ...


I have nothing against joking but you shouldn't do it to the point where you stifle the whole thread and piss off the thread starter. I think it would be more wise to make it more obvious if you joke on these forums, its not like in real life where I can see your facial expressions or body language. It just makes this frustrating.
 
darrenthe747
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RE: What Are The Odds Of This?

Sat Jun 03, 2006 4:19 pm

yes, i agree. sometimes it's hard not to take people literally over an internet forum. I think it's best to make it really obvious with an emoticon or something that you are joking, and then afterwards post something valuable to the discussion, because we can't see you or hear the tone of your voice, and when you go on and on then we are going to think you are serious.

anyway...what are the odds? this guy should have played the lottery. i guess it breaks down to the fact that if you have the remote odds of being in one plane crash, and extremely remote odds of rolling the same dice twice...some unlucky chap is bound to do it eventually. i wonder if anybody in the history of state lotteries have won twice. i would gander that the odds of being in 2 plane crashes that aren't pilot error (and you are the pilot) are probably like 50 million to 1. but then you have to take into account that he is a commercial pilot and flying a lot...so it increases his risk of being in a crash...buit still...pretty damn amazingly unlucky. poor guy.
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kappel
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RE: What Are The Odds Of This?

Sat Jun 03, 2006 6:54 pm

Quoting Viv (Reply 7):
Was it the SAME aircraft each time?

Not that I know of, just the same captain
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don81603
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RE: What Are The Odds Of This?

Sat Jun 03, 2006 7:56 pm

Quoting Viv (Reply 7):
Was it the SAME aircraft each time?



Quoting PDXflyer31 (Thread starter):
He obviously survived the first one, but tragically 123 of the 134 people on that flight perished when the B707 crashed near Paris in 1973.

I'd say no, it wasn't the same aircraft, seeing as how the first was a pax flight, and the second a freighter. Unless the second was the ultimate in Cattle Class...  Smile
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joffie
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RE: What Are The Odds Of This?

Sat Jun 03, 2006 8:24 pm

Quoting Viv (Reply 7):
captain of the Ethiopian flight said this was the second hijack on a plane he flew. How about those odds?

I remember him saying something like that.

I also noticed before the plane hit the water, the FO came back to the flightdeck and 'removed' the hijacker from the seat. The footage shows no input from the hijackers.

anyway, i have gone off topic here.