Within the safety industry, icebergs are a common and useful metaphor. Ninety percent of an iceberg’s mass is underwater and undetectable from the surface with just ten percent visible above the waterline.
Similarly, actual accidents are just the tip of the “safety iceberg” with incidents, mishaps and near misses making up the other 90 percent of hazardous “events.” Not nearly as visible, these “non-accident” events typically get just a fraction of the attention that the accidents receive.
An iceberg expert (yes, there are iceberg experts) will tell you that if you reduced the mass of ice under the water, there would be a corresponding reduction in the amount of ice above the water. Simply put, removing 20 percent of the submerged ice would remove 20 percent of the visible ice.
Similarly, if we use education and improved practices to reduce the number of incidents, mishaps and near misses, we know that the overall number of accidents would also be reduced, creating a safer and more professional air show environment…a goal that we all support.