Aviation Accidents

April 8th, 2008

Using data provided by the National Transportation Safety Board, I created a map of aviation accidents occurring between 1983 and 2007. The data includes 9,389 aviation accidents resulting in 19,740 fatalities in all 50 states. I neglected to illustrate Alaska and Hawaii on the maps but will include them in a future version.

The first map shows the number of aviation accidents by state. 1,213 aviation accidents (or 12.92%) occurred in California. Florida, with the next highest number of aviation accidents, only recorded 647 aviation accidents (or 6.89%) during the 25-year period. Surprisingly, only 406 aviation accidents were recorded in Alaska (not shown). My hypothesis before creating these maps was that Alaska, where air travel is prevalent*, would claim the most aviation accidents.

*According to the Wikipedia article on air transport in Alaska, “Alaska has the highest number of pilots per capita of any U.S. state: out of the estimated 663,661 residents, 8,550 are pilots, or about one in 78.”

The second map represents the number of fatalities caused by aviation accidents. It illustrates a similar message as the first map, but is skewed by the aviation accidents of commercial airliners that resulted in a large number of fatalities.

Most of the accidents – in fact, 99.4% of them – caused only one fatality. Nearly 50% of the accidents resulted in 10 or fewer fatalities. Only seven of the aviation accidents occurring between 1983 and 2007 resulted in more than 100 fatalities. Those aviation accidents are illustrated in this third image (essentially, a layer over the second map).

Click on maps to view at a larger resolution.

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