Nate Silver, who in the past has put the mainstream media to shame with his statistical predictions of election results, writes on his site, FiveThirtyEight.com:
Not going to do any editorializing here; just going to do some non-fancy math. James Joyner asks:
There have been precisely three attempts over the last eight years to commit acts of terrorism aboard commercial aircraft. All of them clownishly inept and easily thwarted by the passengers. How many tens of thousands of flights have been incident free?
Let’s expand Joyner’s scope out to the past decade. Over the past decade, there have been, by my count, six attempted terrorist incidents on board a commercial airliner than landed in or departed from the United States: the four planes that were hijacked on 9/11, the shoe bomber incident in December 2001, and the NWA flight 253 incident on Christmas.
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics provides a wealth of statistical information on air traffic.