February 23, 2009 | Mark Paradies

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Accident Trends – Is Past Performance a Predictor of Future Performance?

The web site About.com has a page about airline accident rates. You can look up the top performing airlines (least accidents per mile flown) in North America, Europe, Asia-Australia, South/Central America – Mexico – Caribbean,  or Africa/Middle East and an overall ranking.


China Airlines and China Eastern Airlines were tied at #88 for the worst record of those on the table (accident rate 4.52) and Delta Airlines was the best (accident rate -4.42). (Don’t ask me how they get a negative number – that’s just what the table says.)

The question to consider is …

Do these accident rates indicate future performance?

They are backwards looking statistics. Reactive. Should they be used to project future performance? Can the predict future accidents?

Many companies use reactive statistics to predict future performance. However, at the 2-Day Advanced Trending Techniques Course, we not only teach people advanced tools for trending statistics (including infrequently occurring accident statistics), but also, how to use proactive statistics to actually judge future performance without waiting for an accident to tell you how you are doing.

The course is based on the techniques that were developed by Walter Shewhart and are now used in Six Sigma programs. But we don’t take months or years to train you. We have taken just the techniques you need and built them into a two day class that anyone who can understand basic math (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) can use to accurately assess trends.

So the answer to the question above. Is:


Only proactive trends can be used to predict future performance. The reactive statistics can only be used to confirm the proactive trends after the fact.

The next 2-Day Advanced Trending Techniques Course is in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, on October 5-6, 2009. This course is only offered once a year … So put the dates on your calendar and get signed up. To register, see:


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