Since this year has been reported as one of the safest for commercial airlines, for the January #swdchallenge at storytelling with data, I wanted to look at other types of airline incidents. Using data from the Federal Aviation Administration, I downloaded the incident report data from 1978-2016 and began exploring the data in Tableau.
I started with plotting the number of incidents, and then I decided to chart the total number of fatalities per year. The history section of the FAA website mentioned that 2001-2007 was one of the safest periods for air carriers – and when looking at the types of incidents, it seemed that this was due to a decrease in “parachute jumping” events. The number then shoots back up in 2010.
I asked LinkedIn, Reddit, and coworkers about why this might be. Some people mentioned it could be an error in the data set and how these types of events are coded. Others have suggested that the decrease is due to the terrorism attacks, and as people became more comfortable again with flying, parachuting went back up. However, the number of incidents overall continues to decline. I still haven’t found an answer as to why this would be!