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In the other questions about parachutes on this site, it has been stated that the aircraft would have to be flying straight and level to facilitate a jump. However, there were quite a few pilots during WWII whose planes were not flying straight and level and who still managed to escape.

Is there a difference between then and now that I am not catching?

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  • $\begingroup$ I would add that a lot of the WWII pilots did not escape as well, and this is part of why we say that it should be straight and level. $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Mar 20 '14 at 18:43
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One of the reasons why many WW2 pilots did not make it out were the G-forces and acceleration in directions other than the door when they had to get out. The bailing out survival rate appears to be correlated to the ease of exit.

If you're going to have a smooth and safe departure, you're happiest doing it during level flight when there's no interference from plane motion.

bail
(source: lonesentry.com)

fire

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    $\begingroup$ Note that you don't necessarily have to be flying straight and level: you could conceivably be in a controlled turn, climb, and maybe even a slight descent and still get out (the key is "controlled", and not subject to crazy acceleration/G loading). For a novice jumper though straight-and-level unaccelerated flight is the safest jump configuration, and the one most likely to result in a successful egress. $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Mar 20 '14 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ Is there any context for the second photo? I'm not sure what it illustrates aside from a plane you wanna bail out of. $\endgroup$ – zymhan Feb 26 at 15:19

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