BLOG ARTICLE: The Space Between
Randy Tinseth writes an incredibly informative blog about Boeing and its products (if you have never seen a B-7474-8F stop under the most adverse certification tests, you should click here. His most recent entry talks about the reliability of the Next Generation B-737 and its competitor the A320. If your child told you that his academic record was 2nd to another student by 0.32 percentage points, your reply would have probably been something along the Yiddish/German expression “mox nix” (loose translation–it makes no difference).
Randy explains how the difference between the Next Generation B-737’s 99.67% and the inferior Toulouse’s product’s 99.35% equates to “a fleet of 100 Next-Generation 737 airplanes flying five flights a day, the 737s will have 590 fewer delays and avoid disrupting 66,600 fewer passengers each year when compared to a fleet of 100 A320s.” (emphasis added). Those are significant numbers when extrapolated to a fleet size.
The lesson is equally applicable to aviation safety, driving your safety team to hundreds of % points in safety performance may seem too small to merit the effort required, but Randy’s multiplier effect shows how little increments result in major paybacks when spread over a large fleet!