Hagic
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Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 12:56 pm

Hello A.net folks,

My girlfriend asks me why airlines don't supply parachutes on-board. I try to give her a good explanation but I wasn't entirely sure of the right answer:

I think the main reasons for not having parachutes onboard are:

- The regular a/c speeds make it impossible for people to jump off safely and slowing the plane down for the evacuation is out of consideration.

- Some or all emergency exits would have to be opened, with the corresponding sudden depressurization affecting all passengers still on the plane.

- The captain would be faced with an extra critical decision in an emergency situation that could affect the already cumbersome decision-making process. I guess pilots never feel/think a plane is completely doomed and that there is always something that can be done to save the plane and the people onboard.

I am sure that I am overlooking some of the obvious reasons. Any comments?
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ATCme
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:08 pm

Hey, I have a great reason airlines don't do that: $$$$$$$$$
Everything costs money, and to maintain all of those parachutes would cost a lot of money. Also, parachutists are highly trained individuals, and to train passengers wouldn't be feasible. It would just be alot easier and cheaper to pay the families of dead passengers a hefty sum of money than put parachutes in for every passenger.
Hope it helps
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flyf15
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:11 pm

In addition to weight, lack of training, etc.... one must also remember that in the vast majority of aircraft accidents, a parachute would do you no good if you even had it. Theres simply no time to get it on and jump out of a stable aircraft. The accident often happens instantly (on landing), uncontrollably (rudder hardover, for example), ... no chance to use a parachute in anything like that.
 
SonOfACaptain
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:14 pm

Quoting Flyf15 (Reply 2):
Theres simply no time to get it on and jump out of a stable aircraft.

Especially when there are 300 passengers onboard.

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NAV20
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:16 pm

Some more reasons (among many others, I'm sure):-

1. Many (most?) people wouldn't have the nerve to use them. I recall that back in the 1960s the British Parachute Regiment found that up to 10% of their (highly-motivated) recruits simply couldn't bring thenmselves to jump out of an aeroplane when the time came.

2. Parachute jumping is inherently dangerous. A proportion of chutes simply don't open in the first place; and on top of that the landing impact can be of the order of that caused by jumping off a ten-foot-high wall.

3. It's difficult to imagine any 'airliner accident' situation in which the passengers woud be safer jumping out instead of staying aboard. I certainly can't think of one. Most accidents are of sudden onset anyway, there wouldn't be time to get everyone to put their harnesses on and then start shouting "Stand up! Hook on..." and all the rest of it.

4. Weight/space/cost/insurance complications. Chutes weigh a lot, they're big, and they require frequent checking and repacking.
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
joffie
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:18 pm

You have hit the nail on the head.

Nobody will know when the plane will break up. If you want to wear a parachute, and have a chance of survivial if the plane 'blows up' then you might as well wear it during the whole flight.

Quoting Hagic (Thread starter):
- The captain would be faced with an extra critical decision in an emergency situation that could affect the already cumbersome decision-making process. I guess pilots never feel/think a plane is completely doomed and that there is always something that can be done to save the plane and the people onboard.

 thumbsup  Exactly. There have been lots of cases when an unflyable plane has been brought safely to the ground. UA232, aloha 737-200 back in 1980's, even the A332 that ran out of fuel have landed safely.

Parachuts would be a big waste of money, and many people simply would not have time.
 
TinkerBelle
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:33 pm

I think it comes down to 3 reasons. Weight, extra weight and un-necessary weight.  biggrin 

In any case, not many people know how to use a parachute.

Quoting Joffie (Reply 5):
even the A332 that ran out of fuel have landed safely.

Huuh?? What A330? Hope you're not talking about the one that glid on a flight from YYZ coz it didn't run out of fuel.
If you are going through hell, keep going.
 
RiddlePilot215
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:45 pm

Quoting TinkerBelle (Reply 6):
I think it comes down to 3 reasons. Weight, extra weight and un-necessary weight.

Add a 4th extrodinary costs  Smile


The damn things have to be packed, and re-packed every xxx amt of days by a certified parachute rigger.

Look up "parachute ops" in the search box, reach pretty much all of Part 105, of the CFAR, the amendments to Parts 61 & 91, and you have a general idea of how crazy it is just to even get ONE jump out of the way.

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HAWK21M
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 2:37 pm

Time.Space to Aerojump & $.
regds
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pilotdude09
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 2:52 pm

Quoting TinkerBelle (Reply 6):
Huuh?? What A330?

It landed on an island somewhere cant remember where or how but i was leaking fuel and the silly pilots put it on crossfeed and forgot about it and bingo it become a glider and glided to safety. Was on air crash investigations
Qantas, Still calling Australia Home.........
 
studentflyer
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 2:53 pm

Quoting TinkerBelle (Reply 6):
Huuh?? What A330? Hope you're not talking about the one that glid on a flight from YYZ coz it didn't run out of fuel.

I thought he was talking about the Air Transat A332... It did run out of fuel due to a leak...

Edit: @ Pilotdude09, it landed in Terceira-Lajes AFB, Azores

@Hagic,

Like NAV20 said, ask your girlfriend if she would jump in a case of emergency. She probably will say she would, but in reality, would she really do it? Theoritically, it is easy to say yes to something, but in reality, things easily turn the other way round...

I do agree with your reasoning and also others' as well.

[Edited 2006-04-07 07:54:01]
 
pilotdude09
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:04 pm

Quoting StudentFlyer (Reply 10):
Terceira-Lajes AFB, Azores


I knew that  Wink
lol thanks, couldnt think of the place.
Qantas, Still calling Australia Home.........
 
studentflyer
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:12 pm

Quoting Pilotdude09 (Reply 11):
I knew that
lol thanks, couldnt think of the place.

Anytime, Sean
 
cvg2lga
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 5:35 pm

people would steal them like they do lifevests that are already onboard.

Tchau
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joffie
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 6:15 pm

Quoting Pilotdude09 (Reply 9):

yeah

the air transat one. I then realised parachutes would be useless because they were flying over water anyway...
 
bill142
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 6:32 pm

Quoting Joffie (Reply 14):
I then realised parachutes would be useless because they were flying over water anyway...

Bingo. Also, think of the operation to collect all those who did jump out over land. Wouldn't be a cheap feat espcially over less developed countries where the services aren't equipt for such a task.
 
3MilesToWRO
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 6:34 pm

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 4):
3. It's difficult to imagine any 'airliner accident' situation in which the passengers woud be safer jumping out instead of staying aboard. I certainly can't think of one. Most accidents are of sudden onset anyway, there wouldn't be time to get everyone to put their harnesses on and then start shouting "Stand up! Hook on..." and all the rest of it.

Well, this DC-10 that lost all hydraulic due to second engine failure, or 747 without tail control in Japan, those could be the examples more-less adequate. But still this is not enough to make parachute on board reasonable.
 
skaggs
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 7:01 pm

I think it is a great idea!

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joness0154
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 7:19 pm

Less than 10% of aviation accidents occur in the cruise phase of flight. Most occur in the takeoff and landing phase, in which case there would be no time at all to use them.
I don't have an attitude problem. You have a perception problem
 
hawker
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 7:24 pm

Assuming there was time to depressurise the aircraft and open the doors, with the configuration of most modern airlines, anyone jumping would stand an excellent chance of either hitting the wing (forward doors) or tail (rear doors).
 
oli80
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Fri Apr 07, 2006 8:21 pm

Two things I can think of:

The pressure difference at high altitude would be so great that you wouldn't be able to open the door anyway. (and even if you did get out, -60C, little oxygen and one hell of an airspeed would surely spell the end of you)

And secondly, wouldn't it be a huge security risk? Wouldn't it give people the chance to bail out after they planted a bomb, killed someone etc.

Just my  twocents 
 
Olympus69
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Sat Apr 08, 2006 2:20 am

A parachute is a bulky thing, unlike an inflatable life vest, so where would you stow them? Presumably they would have to form part of the seat back so that they could be secured without having to leave your seat. But many charter flights have such a small seat pitch that passengers would have a hard time getting into the aisle wearing a 'chute. That is assuming they managed to get the straps that go round the thighs fastened while seated.
The only passengers who might manage would be those in first class. That means that in practical terms it wouldn't be worth while supplying parachutes for economy class passengers - which would hardly be good for customer relations.  Smile
 
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antoniemey
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Sat Apr 08, 2006 4:10 am

Quoting StudentFlyer (Reply 10):
Like NAV20 said, ask your girlfriend if she would jump in a case of emergency. She probably will say she would, but in reality, would she really do it? Theoritically, it is easy to say yes to something, but in reality, things easily turn the other way round...

Plus, while a crashing plane could be a good motivator to jump out, it would also severely cut down the time available, so by the time someone decided "OK, safer to jump out of the plane than stay in it", WHAM! you've hit the ground and it doens't matter anymore.
Make something Idiot-proof, and the Universe will make a more inept idiot.
 
gilesdavies
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Sat Apr 08, 2006 8:07 pm

OK then if we can't have parachutes...

How about ejector seats!  stirthepot 
 
nzrich
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Sat Apr 08, 2006 8:15 pm

Yes as said before you cant open the aircraft doors inflight due to air pressure ..The few aircraft that you can and you have to be at a certain speed and height the door will only open a little so you still could not get out ..Secondly by the time the pressure is right to open the door a parachute would be useless ...
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redflyer
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Sat Apr 08, 2006 11:34 pm

Quoting Gilesdavies (Reply 23):
How about ejector seats!

There was a Popular Mechanics article back in the early 70's that diagramed a passenger ejection system for commercial airliners. It illustrated how the passenger compartment could be built as a separate module and fitted with an ejection system. It would be activated by the pilot and the entire passenger compartment would blow away from the aircraft via a rocket system (much like current military ejection seats, only more powerful) and land via huge parachutes. The article went on to conclude that the system would not be very practical because of weight considerations, costs, and the fact that the rest of the plane, including the cockpit where the pilots sit, would be rendered inoperable. Therefore, a pilot would pull the trigger knowing he was going to doom himself.

Sounds pretty outlandish and that article, along with another on a flying super oil tanker, was a major reason I stopped subscribing to PM back then. They were becoming the cheap tabloid of the engineering world.
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jacobin777
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RE: Parachutes Onboard Commercial Airplanes?

Sun Apr 09, 2006 12:28 am

Quoting TinkerBelle (Reply 6):
I think it comes down to 3 reasons. Weight, extra weight and un-necessary weight.

welcome back TinkerBelle... Smile

I'm going diving this summer..... biggrin 
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