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64

I'd like to answer this question by debunking the premise of the question: that most plane crashes happen when planes fall out of the sky, and that it's like rock climbing where the higher you are, the more likely a fall will kill you. While it sounds believable, it's almost entirely false, and since it isn't diving out of the sky that kills you, lowering ...


62

There are precedents: the flight recorders of AF447 spent two years at the bottom of the ocean, and revealed all that had happened after being retrieved. So they had survived being immersed in salty water at high pressure, making it very likely that MH370s boxes have survived as well. Time of immersion is less relevant: oxidation (rust forming) is much ...


61

It would likely create a more deadly situation. In aviation altitude is your friend. Generally speaking altitude in the case of an emergency buys you time to work the problem. Generally you want to be as high as practical for the aircraft in question. Altitude also buys you glide distance to find a suitable landing location in an emergency. Airplanes ...


60

I get this question a lot from people who are apprehensive about flying with a private pilot. I'm afraid I won't be reducing these fears in any way. Let's review some general statistics during 2008. Note - these stats aren't specific to light or single engine aircraft: NTSB reported there were 1.21 fatalities per 100,000 flight hours for private aircraft ...


55

consider if you Google a flight number you can see the flight status, imagine if the number was from a past crash, you might for a moment think the one you're looking up had crashed


53

In the US, a controller has the authority to treat any situation as an emergency, and they do. I have had controllers "declare" an emergency multiple times, even when I thought I did not have an emergency. There are some advantages to the controller. His work gets shed to others, and his supervisor is at his side to assist. At one point, after ice, ...


50

Aircraft Maintenance Engineer here. To evaluate if an aircraft is safe to fly we use three main reference documents: 1. MEL (minimum equipment list). This document contains the list of elements that are allowed to be inoperative. For example a pneumatic valve, a computer, a seat, etc... All unserviceable elements will have to be fixed within a ...


47

To add to Daniele's answer, from the final report: The forensic report concluded that the aircraft occupants had heart function during the impact. The report noted that this did not necessarily imply that they were alert. The report further estimated that they were in deep non-reversible coma due to their ...


47

Not only is it possible but it happens. This is formally called a "runway incursion" and it does happen like 2005 Logan Airport runway incursion or the B733 / vehicle, Amsterdam Netherlands, 2010. Skybrary has a full list you can find here which is quite lengthy and includes a full section for Vehicle Incursion.


46

How The Jet Engine Works: Inside the typical commercial jet engine, the fuel burns in the combustion chamber at up to 2000 degrees Celsius. The temperature at which metals in this part of the engine start to melt is 1300 degrees Celsius, so advanced cooling techniques must be used. You can read more about some of those cooling mechanisms in How are ...


45

Confirmed (or Highly Probable) LAM Mozambique Airlines Flight 470: A report from the government of Mozambique states that the captain deliberately crashed an Embraer 190 in Namibia on November 29, 2013. Cockpit voice recorders were the primary evidence in the report, which found that the other crew members were locked out of the cockpit by the captain. ...


44

Since Geoff took the devil's advocate position, I'll play cheerleader. If you look at the statistics another way, like AOPA does, you'll find that General Aviation has "about one-sixth as many accidents on a per-vehicle-mile basis" compared to driving. Or to put it another way I'm 6 times more likely to get in a car accident driving to the airport as I ...


42

how they can come up with such specific paths? Diagrams in news organisations graphics published in March and April 2014 vary widely in what they show and appear to be artistic impressions. These should not be relied on in any way. To calculate a variety of likely flight paths, it seems Inmarsat engineers, and other parties to the official investigation, ...


42

No. Holding your breath might cause breaking blood vessels in your lung (barotrauma). It is important to equalize the pressure inside your lung with the exterior. That is in fact the most fundamental rule for all scuba divers. Also see this related question: Is it possible to suffer barotrauma during decompression?


41

Many abnormal situations can be at least partly pilot-induced. Most civil airplanes (modern military ones are another topic - but computers add to that... ) are aerodynamically stable. Releasing the controls gets rid of probable faulty input and gives the plane a chance to stabilize. This might work (did in this case), but if there is a situation where the ...


40

Retiring flight numbers after crash is mainly done to prevent the flight evoking negative emotions among future passengers. You don't want the flight number to conjure up images of crash while booking tickets, especially in when you type the flight number and google shows up the wreckage just below the flight data. Also, it would be quite insensitive, with ...


38

Visual detection To take one example, a vehicle-launched ground to air missile system (e.g. the SA-11) that can reach the cruising altitude of airliners travels at several thousand miles per hour and takes perhaps 30 to 40 seconds from launch to reach its target. Pilots don't have an especially good view of the ground immediately below and would have a ...


37

Some sources I found claiming the event was real: A flat spin creates a low-pressure area and stalls the canopy when ejected. Producers wanted a midair crash but based this accident on a real-life incident instead. (source) The way Goose died was actually based on a real life incident that happened to a 14 crew in the Navy. Don't remember the ...


37

Consciousness requires quite a bit more oxygen than merely being alive. Human beings can last remarkably long with very little oxygen, but not remain conscious. And lack of oxygen will soon enough cause permanent damage. The passengers may have been alive, even if they were not conscious, but they could have been anything from temporarily incapacitated to ...


34

I haven't seen the Breaking Bad episode, but in my experience any aviation related scenes in films and series are usually stretching reality beyond the breaking point. But it is possible that a single mistake can cause an accident. The probability of that happening is extremely remote, though. Typically there are a number of safety barriers (also called ...


32

The NTSB report is a great resource when looking for information about an incident like this. There is an Engine Dual Failure Checklist discussed starting in section 1.17.1.2 of the report. This includes steps to attempt restarting the engines, and further steps depending on whether or not the engines can be started, and finally steps to help prepare for a ...


32

The answer is no, not totally, but it would really slow things down. I don't think anybody knows the precise answer because only flat water ditchings seem to result in the airplane stopping in the water in one piece (such as 1549 and a similar one in Malaysia) and flat water incidents (like Malaysia and some airport overruns) are usually in shallows where ...


31

For the stalled flight to recover, the nose needs to be pointed in the airstream, and then the aircraft pulled up with load factor below the ultimate load. From the accident report: The recordings stopped at 2 h 14 min 28. The last recorded values were a vertical speed of -10,912 ft/min, a ground speed of 107 kt, pitch attitude of 16.2 degrees nose-up ...


30

Yes learn both, but... not at the same time. As Dave says, there are too many differences to be absorbing simultaneously. It's like a new airline pilot taking a type course on a Dash 8 and an RJ at the same time. It'll burn you out. If all this is a hobby activity in the first place with no urgent time lines, drop the power training for now and go take a ...


29

Yes. For example, in the US (I don't know what procedures are used in Indonesia), controllers are instructed (see 10-1-1): If the words “Mayday” or “Pan-Pan” are not used and you are in doubt that a situation constitutes an emergency or potential emergency, handle it as though it were an emergency. Because of the infinite ...


28

There are indeed only two 'official' classifications of aviation incidents, which are defined in ICAO Annex 13. Accident. An occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight until such time as all such persons have disembarked, in which: a) a ...


27

The short answer is that when a plane crashes on land we (generally) have a pretty good idea where to look for the black boxes - there will usually be a relatively clearly defined debris field to search. When a plane goes down in the water there's a lot more ocean to search, and currents can deposit parts of the airframe over a much wider area, so the ...


26

Yes, commercial airplanes have landed or crash landed in water many times. If I am not mistaken, you are asking about scenarios when the on-board life jackets and life raft are used. Here is a list of water landings. Examples when a life raft was used are (in addition to ratchet freak's mentions): On 22 October 1962, a Northwest Airlines DC-7C with 7 ...


26

I can't answer for the Blue Angels or the Thunderbirds, but I can for the UK equivalent, the Red Arrows. The Red Arrows have no spare pilots (or 'B team'). The nine pilots on the team fly every display in their 3 year tour. The explanation is that a spare pilot would not fly frequently enough to be current and safe. They do however have the capability to do ...


26

A plane should be able to be identified by the serial numbers of the various parts recovered at the crash scene. The history of any part on a plane is documented extensively by the serial number. The NTSB should be able to track down when the part was produced and who the part was delivered to. As Tanner mentioned the NTSB should be contacted immediately ...


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