Tuesday, July 20, 2021

100 Years of Plane Crashes

The first fatality in a powered aircraft occurred over a century ago in 1908. The pilot was Orville Wright, the co-inventor of the first ever motorized aircraft. The crash of the plane piloted by Wright resulted in the death of his passenger, Signal Corps Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge.

The ASN Aviation Safety Database records around 22 thousand airplane crashes since August 2nd, 1919. In One Century of Plane Crashes Buğra Fırat explores and visualizes the 22 thousand plane crashes which have occurred over the last 100 years.

Buğra's visualizations of the data includes an interactive heat map which shows where these crashes have occurred around the world. When exploring this map it is important to consider that locations with a lot of air traffic (for example major airports) are statistically more likely to have witnessed the most crashes. To me some of Buğra's other visualizations of the plane crash data are more interesting. For example his timeline of all the crashes from 1919 to 2019 shows how World War II and the Vietnam War were both periods with a higher than normal number of crashes. 

Those of you who obsess over aircraft safety might also be interested in Buğra's visualizations of the number of crashes by plane manufacturer and by the age of the aircraft. However, if you are scared of flying, then you might want to give One Century of Plane Crashes a complete miss.

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