747-600X
Topic Author
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Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Fri Aug 10, 2001 4:55 pm

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?
 
gerardo
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Fri Aug 10, 2001 5:06 pm

Would love to see the parachute needed for a B747, or even for the A380  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Gerardo
dominguez(dash)online(dot)ch ... Pushing the limits of my equipment
 
VonRichtofen
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Fri Aug 10, 2001 5:47 pm

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.

Regards,

Kris  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
 
jaumett
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Fri Aug 10, 2001 6:08 pm

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.

saludos

jaume
 
FBU 4EVER!
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Fri Aug 10, 2001 8:51 pm

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.

No.let's cover the earth with huge,soft pillows!  Laugh out loud
"Luck and superstition wins all the time"!
 
watewate
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Fri Aug 10, 2001 11:40 pm

Most accidents occur during takeoff/landing phase. When accidents do occur during cruise, there's usually plenty of time for crew to land the plane on an airsfield or there's no time to react at all.
 
jared
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Sat Aug 11, 2001 12:21 am

I thought I had read about technology that WOULD make it possible for airliners to deploy chutes.

However, to outfit planes with the technology would cost so much more than the airlines pay out in lawsuits from crashes. Sucks but that's how it goes.
 
contrails
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Sat Aug 11, 2001 12:39 am

What type and how many problems would there be with putting a chute onto a commercial jet?

First, how big would it have to be? Even a DC-9 is a little heavy, it will take an enormous chute to set it down at all, not to mention reasonably gently. Then try getting a 747 down.

Second, how will the chute be controlled? You don't want a plane landing on top of a school or in the middle of downtown.

Third, can a chute bring a plane down gently enough to prevent everyone on-board from getting broken backs, thighs, etc.?

Fourth, and finally for me, I think there would be some structural issues involving a fuselage that can be split open on top for the entire length of the plane.

I know the concept has been tested on small planes, but I don't see it on the big boys.

Flying Colors Forever!
 
seagull
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Sat Aug 11, 2001 12:39 am

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.
 
747-600X
Topic Author
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Seagull

Sat Aug 11, 2001 2:09 pm

If that's true (#2) why haven't they built any ultra-high-efficiency monojets yet?
 
desertjets
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Sat Aug 11, 2001 4:50 pm

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
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Mon Aug 13, 2001 2:55 am

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.

-Notar520AC
BMW - The Ultimate Driving Machine
 
heavymetal
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Mon Aug 13, 2001 5:59 am

No one has brought up the fact that, fine, great...your stricken airliner is drifting safely to Earth beneath its parachute...

Now how many people get creamed when it lands on top of a supermarket! Or high school....or Yankee Stadium!! (which it could be argued is not a bad thing )  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

I will say that it's not inconceivable to see some of the first generation hypersonic airliners equipped with some sort of emergency chute....
 
ren41
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Mon Aug 13, 2001 7:23 am

Why not just make the plane out of the black box? Big grin

--\/Ren41/\--
 
Klaus
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Mon Aug 13, 2001 7:36 am

Just one more:

What about accidental parachute deployment due to a malfunction? The probability of someone getting killed by that would be far greater than the probability of getting saved by it.

And, of course there´s the pressurized fuselage; You would have to build unpressurized chambers for the chute into the plane. Tricky. And also potentially dangerous.
 
caribb
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Mon Aug 13, 2001 9:34 am

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  Smile I guess I'm really just waiting for the first anti-gravity device that might solve all these problems... Smile
 
flight152
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Mon Aug 13, 2001 9:37 am

Why not just make the plane out of the black box?

Than the plane would weigh too much and cost too much.

And, if you were joking, nevermind.
 
ren41
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RE: Flight152

Mon Aug 13, 2001 10:18 am

I was joking!

{{Ren41}}
 
Transactoid
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RE: Flight152

Mon Aug 13, 2001 12:08 pm

What's wrong with the personal parachute idea?
 
seagull
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Mon Aug 13, 2001 12:24 pm

747-

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?
 
ronen
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Mon Aug 13, 2001 2:05 pm

 
flight152
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:49 am

Transactoid

I said nothing about the personal parachute idea.
 
SSTjumbo
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RE: Plane About To Crash? Why Not Parachute?!

Tue Aug 14, 2001 4:31 am

I would say put an extremely huge rotor on top of the fuselage that would deploy in an emergency. Make that like 64 blades too!!!
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