There was another question that asked why commercial flights don't have parachutes. The almost ubiquitous response was that the parachutes would be useless because:
- Most accidents with commercial airliners happen on take off and landing, and there is no time to parachute.
- In order to get to a position where 100+ people can successfully jump out, you'd most likely need to descend some 20,000 ft and then maintain straight and level for a good 3 to 5 minutes once you got past 12,000 (so people have oxygen to breathe when they jump). And if you can descend and maintain level flight, you might as well land.
But what about in a light, single engine plane (think Cessna 172 or Piper Cherokee)? Engine failures in small aircraft, for example, seem to be more common, so you have more accidents that start high above the ground. Thus, you usually have a few minutes before you're going to hit the ground and there's often only 1 or 2 passengers (rather than 100). Plus, you're usually already at an altitude where you don't need oxygen to bail out.
With that in mind, couldn't you put the plane into a shallow dive to keep it from stalling, trim it to keep it going straight and then bail out? It seems like a somewhat practical solution, yet I have never heard of anyone doing it.
Why do pilots often try to find a road to land on or a lake to ditch in when trouble strikes instead of just bringing a parachute and bailing out?