Kieron747
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Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Sun Feb 20, 2005 10:07 am

I've just been chatting to this guy who is not too keen on flying. Unfortunately for him, its a neccessity to travel around Canada a lot, and considering the expanse of this place, it has to be via plane.

he says that he always takes a seat as close to the tail of the airplane as people at the rear always have a better chance of survival.

Is this true?

He says that in the event of an accident, the tail simply snaps off leaving the people unharmed while the rest of the plane is less fortunate.

Do you think this is true? And if it is, where would he get such an idea!?
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aa757first
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Sun Feb 20, 2005 1:47 pm

I think the safest would be an overwing emergency exit row. That area is strong due to the presence of the wing and the emergency exit is right there if you need to evacuate. But, for the most part, if a plane is going down, so are you.

AAndrew
 
geoffm
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Sun Feb 20, 2005 6:36 pm

I read somewhere that statistically speaking, nowhere is significantly any safer on a plane. The only slight improvements were (a) close to an emergency exit; (b) in the section of the plane where the wings join. But the advantages were so insignificant that eating beef instead of chicken was more important (joke).

Just read the emergency card, know where your exits are, and, for short distances, maybe board the train instead (which is not safer but you feel safer, and is still 10x safer than driving).

Geoff M.

PS - I think I read it in "Black Box".
 
NCLairport
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Sun Feb 20, 2005 7:26 pm

its certainly not safer tat the back. Take the BMI crash in 1988 when it was making an emergency landing at East Midlands... the aircraft hit an embankment and the section from the wings to the tail broke off and flipped over crushing everyone in this section. Most survivors......at the front!!!
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aerorobnz
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Sun Feb 20, 2005 7:41 pm

that depends what kind of 'worst' you are talking about. If you're talking about SR111 type 'worst' then there's no good seat, however if we're talking about a hard landing/overrunning runway type smash up there probably is. There's so many variables that could change that though.
Flown to 120 Airports in 44 Countries on 73 Operators. Visited 55 Countries and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.
 
SA006
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Sun Feb 20, 2005 8:13 pm

Quoting NCLairport (reply 3):
Take the BMI crash in 1988 when it was making an emergency landing at East Midlands... the aircraft hit an embankment and the section from the wings to the tail broke off and flipped over crushing everyone in this section. Most survivors......at the front!!!


Ah , but you're forgetting that the 4 people who survived the Air Florida Flight 90 crash at IAD were seated in the last two rows.

-SA006
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hoons90
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Sun Feb 20, 2005 9:29 pm

In addition to SA006's post, When JAL 123 crashed into Mt. Osutaka in 1985, The only 4 survivors were seated on the same row, at the rear.
The biggest mistake made by most human beings: Listening to only half, understanding just a quarter and telling double.
 
backfire
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Sun Feb 20, 2005 10:50 pm

There's no "safest" place - it's a myth sustained by the fact that the FDR and CVR are often mounted in the rear where the aircraft is structurally strong.

But just because the impact forces in this region are less likely to be strong enough to destroy a well-protected recorder, they'll still be more than enough to ruin your day.

When it comes to survival planning, you just have to assume that you'll live through the impact - it's pretty much a lottery. Your time is much better spent making sure that, having survived the first bang, you don't then choke to death on the smoke or drown in the water.

That means sitting next to the emergency exit - or at least making sure you know where it is (even in pitch darkness) and how to open it. And that's why you pay attention during the cabin demo. Because when the lights go out, it's too late.
 
AT502B
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Sun Feb 20, 2005 10:52 pm

On the averages I'd say sittting in the tail would be the safest.
I love the smell of jet fuel in the morning.
 
oly720man
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Mon Feb 21, 2005 8:35 pm

Funny how there is this paranoia about flying when you're much more likely to suffer injury in the home or in a vehicle on the way to the airport.

Best place to sit.... depends on the incident and what happens after. Near the door/wing if there's a fire. At the back if there's an impact so no seats behind you hit you.
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SlamClick
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Tue Feb 22, 2005 1:03 am

NTSB accident reports are available (no longer free) to the public. In accidents where there were mixed casualties in the impact and in the post-impact phase, they sometimes include seat maps indicating the fate of people seated in each occupied seat. The USAir DC-9 crash at CLT is one such report.

I have looked at a number of these and there is no pattern that I can discern at all. A plane crash is a whole deck of wild cards. Perhaps in a straight-ahead crash like the JAL 747 you might have more of the force attenuated by fuselage crumple forward of you, but you are just as likely to land in the fire.

It is a big crapshoot, except for one thing. Proximity to an emergency exit can save your life provided you recover from the trauma and respond quickly.
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pdxtriple7
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Tue Feb 22, 2005 2:06 am

Although sitting over the wing one would be near a few exits, fuel is carried in/near the wing, so you would basically be sitting on a firebomb waiting to go off. If you survived the crash, the fire that would erupt would surely kill you first, unless you got out extremely quickly. That's why I would think you best chance would either be in the very front near the emergency exit or in the very back, although deciding between those two is complete luck. Now if the plane has rear mounted engines, the wings might be a better option. It also seems that in several crashes, such as JAL 747, that either the front or back broke off, which spared passengers of the horrific fire, but then you could be crushed. Does anyone know what one of those "How to survive..." says about surviving a plane crash?
 
777DadandJr
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Tue Feb 22, 2005 5:05 am

I believe it was George Carlin who said:

"It's always safer in the back of the plane. Have you ever heard of a plane backing into a mountain?

Words of a wise man!  Smokin cool

Russ
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September11
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Tue Feb 22, 2005 8:07 am

Majority of United 232 survivors sat in the rear of ill-fated DC-10?
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ThePinnacleKid
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Wed Feb 23, 2005 10:27 am

Safest spot on a plane... Egh.. Just depends on the accident. Every accident has different dynamics at play such as: what's wrong, angle at impact, terrain its impacting, etc... However, that being said, one of the strongest points of an aircraft is at the wing box, the center section of an aircraft where the wings are joined to the main fuselage. It has to be exceptionally well secured to the frame; most stresses are also first delivered to that area on landing with gear being placed in that same region. So as far as being built maybe slightly... Very slightly... more solid, I would go there. As far as fuel causing you to be on a time bomb, guess its always a possibility, but everything is just speculation anyway since no two accidents are the same. Just remember the NASA test involving dif. fuel additives controlled crash of the 707/DC-8 (can't remember at the moment).. post impact fuel was burning like crazy, but plane was still moving as the plane slid down the runway... front had the least fire damage. While DL's 727 off the rwy in Dallas back in late 80's had post impact fire and a lot survived escaping through overwing exits.
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57AZ
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Thu Feb 24, 2005 4:26 am

On the ground where you can enjoy the fireworks but stay clear of the aluminum/composite shower. Some seats may be "safer" than others depending on the situation but they're all in an aluminum/composite tube being propelled through the sky at breakneck speed by highly flammable liquids.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
USairways16BWI
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:00 am

SA006: just a little correction, the air florida crash was at DCA, not IAD. too much ice build up, then it hit the 14th street bridge and crashed into the river.

as for a safe place on the plane.... i dont think anyone would survive a giant explosion, since most of the time, a plane explodes into a big ball of fire when it crashes. I dont think you are safe anywhere on the plane during a crash. As for sitting near the wing...ehh..i dont think so. if a wing full of fuel blows up, i dont think sitting right next to it would be good. In reality, it all depends on the nature of the crash.
 
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aerorobnz
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Thu Feb 24, 2005 7:25 am

considering how flammable the compressed Oxygen they pump into the cabin through the masks during an emergency I'd expect that we would explode/burn quite easily in an impact/explosion ... It's part of the excitement of flying, knowing that if you crash there won't be much left of you in one place, and that you could end up on an Air Disaster documentary if you do survive. It never fails to make me enjoy flying while I can.
Flown to 120 Airports in 44 Countries on 73 Operators. Visited 55 Countries and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.
 
nwafflyer
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Thu Feb 24, 2005 8:35 am

and, why worry? I suspect there would be a few moments of fear and panic, but then there would be nothing. In a car crash, there could be months and years of pain and rehabiliation, and that happens way way more often than any flight problems.

No fear of flying, and why should there be? Fear of driving to the airport, yep, I'll buy that one, or fear of an Amtrack train, fear on a Greyhound Bus -- but fear of flying? Why bother
 
AirWillie6475
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Thu Feb 24, 2005 9:17 am

If you want to survive a crash don't sit next to the window. Remember, if you survive the impact the smoke will kill you equally as fast. Sit where exiting the aircraft can be done quickly. As for the smoke I would cover my face with clothing or something. Run for your life, go to a nearby farm have a coke and call the police  Smile
 
samair
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Sun Feb 27, 2005 5:48 pm

On the black box they always find that
the captain has now dimmed the lights for take off this is a routine procedure for flights during the hours of darkness!
 
SNBru
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Sun Feb 27, 2005 11:27 pm

I once heard that the safest spot was at the restroom!  Smile
Though I wouldn't leave my seat in an emergency!
 
SlamClick
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Mon Feb 28, 2005 1:53 am

Quoting SNBru (reply 21):
I once heard that the safest spot was at the restroom!

Well, if you were about to crash perhaps you would NEED the restroom. Smile

* * *


Again, it is a big crapshoot. There are things you can do for yourself but there is also the luck factor.
Most people killed in plane crashes succumb to one of three things.

1. Decelerative forces.
2. Loss of habitable space
3. Fire


Assuming you have been lucky enough to have survived the impact, your own state of mind is the biggest factor in your survival. People all around you may be shocked into negative panic and complete inaction. You will not be able to break through to them and get them to move. They are already dead! Push them aside, run over the top of them to get to an exit. If you are unwilling to do this, you are already dead. Blunt truth of it right there.

If you do survive, and others don't - expect some survivor's guilt. Get counseling for it if you want. You did nothing wrong. You survived and that is the real prime directive.

One huge potential killer is foolish attitudes about plane crashes.

Not listening to the briefing is one stupid thing you can do. You think you know the whole thing verbatim, but not even all flight attendants could actually pass a test on it. I've written the briefings. I've taught the topics. I still shut up and listen. If I'm not gaining new information I use the time to zen-practice opening the exits, rehearsing my escape routes etc.


Quoting UsAirways16bwi (reply 16):
.... i dont think anyone would survive a giant explosion, since most of the time, a plane explodes into a big ball of fire when it crashes. I dont think you are safe anywhere on the plane during a crash. As for sitting near the wing...ehh..i dont think so. if a wing full of fuel blows up, i dont think sitting right next to it would be good.


HUGE misconception here - and a dangerous one at that. It leads unavoidably to apathy if you buy into this.

Airplanes don't explode. You've seen too many movies. I have personally witnessed somewhere around 25 plane crashes. I can only recall two that resulted in a big fire.

In the first place an "explosion" has a specific meaning (the burn rate exceeds the speed of sound in the material burning) and jet fuel spilled on a fire does not explode - it burns. Vast difference.

The post crash fires usually start rather slowly and by the time the news cameras get to the scene they are well underway.

The exception is the fighter jet diving straight into the ground. Well, don't sweat the fireball because decelerative forces and loss of habitable space already killed everyone on board.

You have probably never seen a real-time video of a plane that crashes, catches fire and burns up completely. It takes time, and usually enough time for you to get away if you are able. What you see is the edited version where the camera operator shot brief segments that were later edited together and that creates an illusion of time compression. It doesn't happen that fast. (But don't hang around trying to get your briefcase out of the overhead.)

We are not concerned with the plane that rolls over from thirty five thousand feet and dives into the ground. (When was the last time you heard of that happening?) It is an accident on takeoff or landing that we are most likely to be faced with and these crashes are, in general, survivable.

You may have to work at it, however.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
jumbojim747
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Mon Feb 28, 2005 7:13 am

Quoting SlamClick (reply 22):
Airplanes don't explode.

TWA 800 ?
On a wing and a prayer
 
NWADC9
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:49 am

Safest seat to be sitting in if the worst happens?








































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SlamClick
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RE: Where To Sit If The Worst Happens?

Tue Mar 01, 2005 1:02 am

Quoting JumboJim747 (reply 23):
Quoting SlamClick (reply 22):
Airplanes don't explode.

TWA 800 ?


TWA 800 absolutely proves my point.
It did not explode.

There was an explosion alleged to have been a few gallons of fuel in the center tank, that breached the skin of the aircraft, whereupon, dynamic airloads caused the structural breakup.

Again, an explosion is a fire that propagates at a speed greater than the speed of sound in the material burning. A sealed container bursting from overpressure is only called an explosion out of convenience. It does not really meet the definition.

TWA 800 is a whole separate category and does not belong in this thread for several reasons:

  • It is shrouded in controversy and will likely end up hijacking this thread.

  • It was a non-survivable event so it did not matter where you were sitting.

  • The primary damage was caused by the airloads breaking up the structure and not the "explosion" itself. To prove this point, imagine it had occurred sitting on the ramp. The passengers near the starting point of the event might have been casualties, but those at the far ends of the cabin would simply have jumped into the slides and limped away.


  • Anyway, we were specifically not talking about unsurvivable crashes.
    Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.

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