747-600X From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 2829 posts, RR: 13 Posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 7604 times:
No, not the same ol' same ol' "put parachutes in every seat instead of flotation devices" argument, but a different aspect on the parachute question. Space shuttles and drag racers have parachutes - why not use all that preacious overhead space above the passenger cabin for one big-*ss parachute. Attached to rings 2/3 of the way to the front or back of the fuselage by thick steel cables, made out of some sorta' really strong cloth, the parachute could be deployed in the event of engine failure or something else which might make the plane dive. Let's say, for example, that Terror Ist puts a bomb on board and pops out a few rows causing explosive decompression. Okay, the other 3/4 of the plane are still there even if they're really cold and really thirsty for air. The plane is out of control and the flight crew can't manipulate a plane which has, for example, lost it's entire tailcone. Passengers are seatbelted in as safety recommendations suggest, so they stay strapped to this hurtling death tube... Earthward she goes. All the captain has to do is press one button and bam! the engines shut off because, well, that would sorta' reduce the point of having a parachute, and when the plane detects the ground at X distance OR the speed below Y velocity, it whips out the chute and the plane drifts casually to Earth.
LOTS of technical problems, yes, so let's hear it - what do you think?
VonRichtofen From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 4657 posts, RR: 25
Reply 2, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 7496 times:
There is already parachute systems available for some small general aviation aircraft (cessna's etc.)
The size of Parachute needed for an aircraft the size and weight of a 747 would be ridiculous. I was watching a show on TLC or something about this, and I think the estimated size of parachute that would be needed for a 747 was something like several football fields in size. It might have been several dozen because of the weight. I don't think there's a material light enough and at the same time is strong enough to handle it that exists yet. Might be a possibilty in the future but pretty much impossible with todays technology.
Jaumett From Spain, joined Mar 2001, 42 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 7478 times:
About a couple of months ago, there was a very interesting article about the future of aviation in the US in The Atlantic Monthly magazine. It talks about some research to develop cheap aircrafts that will have parachutes. If you have a chance, try to read it, it's quite interesting.
FBU 4EVER! From Norway, joined Jan 2001, 998 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 7441 times:
Just thinking of the modifications needed to an airframe to withstand the opening jerk of the chute,however soft it could be made,is mind boggling.The plane would weigh so much it would never get off the ground.
Seagull From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 340 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 7392 times:
I can see two immediate flaws in this entire argument:
1. If pilots knew the airplane was about to crash they probably could do something about it without going through the trouble (how often do you think the crew knows well in advance and at a high enough altitude?).
2. Things such as engine failures are not life threatening, the injuries to the people and aircraft by the stupid parachute idea would be far worse than any injuries incurred by people being nervous about what is a very basic aviation technique (landing with an engine inop). This is true even in a single engine light airplane. The bottom line is that we train for engine outs, they're not a big deal and the landings out of them are virtually always uneventful.
DesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7907 posts, RR: 14
Reply 10, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 7309 times:
I will entertain your terrorist bomb scenario, just for a moment. So even if a good chunk of the fuselage is blown out of the plane and there is an emergency decompression the chute won't do a like of good. Without being force fed oxygen at FL350 your passengers would very likely be dead by the time you made it down to terra firma. I would imagine it would take several minutes... perhaps well over 10-15 to have a gentle enough landing, to descend from 30,000+ ft to the ground. By then the effects of hypoxia would have taken their effects pretty well rendering most of the passengers unconscious and many of them permanantly.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
Notar520AC From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1606 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 7277 times:
Parachute systems are already being incorporated into smaller turboprops, but like most of you said commercial jets are just too big and heavy for a parachute and the airframe modifications to withstand the deploying stage would cost billions. At cruising altitude I believe it is possible to glide the plane down to an airport safely, so why bother? Most accidents do occur at takeoff and landing and the parachute would not help that much then.
Caribb From Canada, joined Nov 1999, 1649 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 7238 times:
I think in most cases when the plane's condition has come to the point where it's about to crash then a parachute, although a cool idea, probably would be useless. TWA, Pan Am, Air India, Swissair, Iran Air, Egyptair, Alaska Air etc.. all happened so fast or the circumstances were so particular that a parachute would have been either useless or in Alaska's case maybe a greater hinderance to getting down safely.
Another alternative in a perfect world would be larger swept wings or blended wings that would allow a jet to more easily glide to earth.. or giant inflatable air bags on the outside to allow for a more controlled Mars-like landing that would hopefull keep the plane upright and passengers in one piece.. or if nothing else at least keep it afloat if in water. All this though would increase weight penalities, fuel consumption, reduce range and be prohibitively expensive... and this does nothing if the jet is on fire or breaking apart.
Another possibility is a giant inflatable helium filled balloon or those outside air bags I mentioned above.. but then where do you store that much helium on a 747 and would it inflate in time and would it be effective at -50 degrees??.. would do wonders for weight penalities though I guess I'm really just waiting for the first anti-gravity device that might solve all these problems...
Seagull From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 340 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 7208 times:
The fact that having an engine failure in a multi-engine aircraft is not a big deal has no bearing on the issues with single engine aircraft. Your statement doesn't make any logical sense at all. In your single a parachute starts to make some sense, except that when you look at the stats the percentage of accidents that would fall into the category that a parachute might help is so low that the costs associated with such an (idiotic) idea would be much better spent on improving safety and preventing the majority of accidents in the first place!
Sure, you can always add one more thing to increase safety, but some items have more "return" than others. Should be ban all flying in the mid-west of the U.S. all spring and summer due to thunderstorm concerns, or all winter operations if the airport is not dry? Or perhaps just ban all operations to airports that have wet runways? All of these ideas would save more lives and actually cost LESS than your parachute idea. Getting the picture?