Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Aid and Aviation

This guest post is by Felipe Cabezas.

When flying, do you want to know this information?

Before I board a plane and while I’m in the air, I don’t care about aviation statistics. They fly (get it?!) out the window. I could not care less about how many planes landed safely worldwide in the past year.

Or this information?
Instead, I worry about my flight. How are the weather conditions? Are there any mechanical issues? Did the pilot have a good night’s rest? These are the factors that will determine if my plane lands safely at Reagan National Airport. Flight so-and-so that landed safely in LaGuardia a week earlier does not factor into the equation – by a long shot.

Now, that’s not to say that aviation statistics aren’t important. They’re good to know when booking a flight and assuring myself that traveling by plane is safer than by car. But the only times when I seriously consider them are before and after my flight . . . when I’m on the ground . . . safe and sound . . .

When I read articles, documents and position papers about international aid and look at accompanying graphs and charts, I wonder if we focus too much on aviation statistics. (Child mortality worldwide has decreased by X percent over the past decade.) That’s good to know, but we’re not on the ground. We’re in the air. Perhaps we should start gathering more information about specific flights and assessing it more closely to gauge how likely we are to land safely.