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Skydiving accidents

  1. Oct 5, 2014 #1

    GT1

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    You are going to do skydiving at the first time in your life. A friend tells you that the skydiving club you are going to never had any accidents in the past 20 years. Do you need to worry more or less when you hear it? Why?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 5, 2014 #2

    mathman

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    It sounds like a good safety record. Why worry?
     
  4. Oct 5, 2014 #3

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    A friend of mine told me that he was really worry to hear it because if nothing has happened so far, there is higher risk that it will happen now (and even higher the next day..) And then we started argue about it.. How can i prove it is not true?
     
  5. Oct 5, 2014 #4

    mfb

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    Staff: Mentor

    This misconception is known as Gambler's fallacy.

    Unlike in the classic example, however, skydiving clubs are not fair dice. Some clubs will have higher safety standards than others, so a long record of no accidents is a good sign that accidents will stay rare in the future.

    Is 20 years a good value? I don't know. If the club exists for much more than 20 years, then this statement basically implies "but 21 years ago, there was an accident". To make the example more extreme, would you go to a club that is proud of "no accidents in the last 3 days!"?
     
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