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69 votes
Accepted

What control inputs to make if a wing falls off?

This one: Yes, an F-15 has once landed with a lost wing. However, the landing was a close call - 20 more feet and the plane would've overrun the runway. That landing took both skill and luck, as well ...
Therac's user avatar
  • 27.4k
66 votes

MH370 blackbox - is it still possible to retrieve data from it?

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 ...
Koyovis's user avatar
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65 votes
Accepted

Would a slower speed and lower altitude reduce fatal incidents?

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, ...
RealAnswersNotAI's user avatar
62 votes
Accepted

Why do paratroopers not get sucked out of their aircraft when the bay door opens?

The difference is in the pressurization. An aircraft with skydivers or paratroopers would either not pressurize in the first place or smoothly depressurize the cabin using the outflow valve before ...
Bianfable's user avatar
  • 56k
61 votes

Would a slower speed and lower altitude reduce fatal incidents?

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 ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
59 votes

Can ATC handle a flight as emergency although the pilots have not declared an emergency?

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 ...
mongo's user avatar
  • 17.8k
57 votes

Why do airlines retire the flight number after a crash?

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
MetaGuru's user avatar
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51 votes
Accepted

What level of damage to an aircraft is acceptable to let it depart?

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 ...
ant Bldel's user avatar
  • 1,132
48 votes

How could the Helios 522 passengers have survived so long without oxygen?

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 ...
Federico's user avatar
  • 32.6k
48 votes
Accepted

Are there any real life instances of aircraft aborting a takeoff or landing to avoid a vehicle?

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. ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
47 votes

How can citizens assist at an aircraft crash site?

First things first: Immediately upon noticing an accident, report it to officials. Never think "someone else has probably already done that". I've arrived on a traffic accident site three ...
Jpe61's user avatar
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47 votes
Accepted

Flaming plane-like object in the night sky

It is the pyrotechnic Bandit Fly Team flying over the Carolina Hurricanes Stadium in North Carolina on 18 February 2023. There are a large number of videos online of the event, including one from the ...
Party Ark's user avatar
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46 votes
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Why would a jet engine that runs at temps excess of 2000°C burn when it crashes?

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 ...
Zach Lipton's user avatar
  • 8,306
44 votes

Why do airlines retire the flight number after a crash?

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 ...
aeroalias's user avatar
  • 100k
43 votes

Should I hold my breath in case of a decompression?

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 ...
bogl's user avatar
  • 10.8k
41 votes

If your plane is out-of-control, why does military training instruct releasing the joystick to neutralize controls?

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 ...
tsg's user avatar
  • 2,761
38 votes
Accepted

How could the Helios 522 passengers have survived so long without oxygen?

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 ...
Daniele Procida's user avatar
35 votes
Accepted

Novel Research: Best way to sabotage a Hawker Hurricane in 1940/41?

The Achilles heel, a good single-point-of-failure source that will be hard to detect until it's too late, of a plane like a Hurricane would be coolant system. If I was going to sabotage a Hurricane in ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
34 votes

Can ATC handle a flight as emergency although the pilots have not declared an emergency?

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 ...
Zach Lipton's user avatar
  • 8,306
34 votes

Are more fatalities in commercial aircraft accidents caused by pilot error than by automated features?

"Automation failure" tend to be lumped in with all other "Mechanical failure" in any statistics. Those statistics are fairly easy to find but absolutely back up the claim that ...
Jamiec's user avatar
  • 33.3k
33 votes
Accepted

Does the ditching switch allow an A320 to float indefinitely?

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 ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
32 votes
Accepted

On Air France 447, what would have been the lowest altitude to initiate recovery after the stall developed?

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 ...
Koyovis's user avatar
  • 61.8k
31 votes
Accepted

Will dual-learning in a glider make my airplane learning safer?

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 ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
27 votes

What happens to US military demo teams following unexpected pilot turnover?

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 ...
DJClayworth's user avatar
  • 4,502
27 votes
Accepted

What possible causes can there be for a crash in good weather conditions?

A few things come to mind: Partial or full pilot incapacitation. Anything from a heart attack, or stroke, through to hypoxia could make a pilot lose control and crash. Illness does not care whether ...
Jamiec's user avatar
  • 33.3k
26 votes

Can this aircraft wreckage be identified?

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. ...
DLH's user avatar
  • 5,809
25 votes
Accepted

Are grass strips more dangerous than tarmac?

Cloud, you are making a huge inference from a few small data points. But in any case, to the basic question, which is actually a very good one: In terms of the chance of getting killed, (what you ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
24 votes

Could someone really die in the way that Goose did in the movie "Top Gun"?

I was a pilot in the Tomcat for 1,800 hours 1975-85. We actually had a written and memorized procedure that when ejecting from a FLAT SPIN you did not just pull the ejection seat handle(s). The ...
Greg Quist's user avatar
24 votes
Accepted

What's the minimum survivable mid-air collision altitude in a glider?

I fly gliders regularly and wear a parachute most of the time, and am also an ex skydiver. Strong parachutes indicates the opening distance of an emergency parachute is 150-300 ft, and advises bailing ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k

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