# Tag Info

165

The difference here isn't between ships and aircraft: it's between Morse code and voice. The SOS signal is only for Morse code. It's short, easy to send, and easy to recognise. But it's not as convenient to say. It doesn't actually mean "save our souls". The letters were chosen just to form the simple Morse pattern, and "save our souls" is a backformation: ...

82

This would be an extremely difficult question to answer without being opinionated, but I'll give a try. As part of the investigation, the NTSB, along with other agencies carried out a number of tests on simulator, where pilots were tasked with either landing or ditching the aircraft. There were three different scenarios contemplated: Normal landings on ...

81

Qualification: I worked at a sport parachute center as an instructor for 10 years and I hold an FAA Master Parachute Rigger certificate. I believe that qualifies me as an expert on the subject. The majority of the above other statements here are correct. In summary: The door of a pressurized passenger plane cannot be opened in flight for the stated reasons....

77

Mainly because in the situation that you describe, the airplane is perfectly capable of flying. You don't need an engine to fly as airplanes are designed to glide without it. Part of every pilots training is how to land the airplane when this happens. Many of the same issues also apply in the smaller airplanes. Unless the pilot and the passengers fly ...

73

If you make a radio call, unless you are on 121.5 (or 243 military), then only the station you are talking to will initially know about the emergency. Initial calls should always be with the unit you are working with unless you are VFR. If you squawk 7700, then all stations in transponder range, including possible airborne stations such as AWACS and SAR ...

63

I'm a controller, not a pilot, so I can only speak from my own perspective. What we are taught in ATC school is that many pilots are reluctant to use the word mayday because they feel it might escalate a situation unnecessarily and potentially create a lot of paperwork. I guess, mentally, it seems like calling mayday is a significant, irreversible step which ...

62

The current position of regulators like the FAA is that dropping things off of airplanes in flight is a bad thing. Dropping extremely large and heavy things like engines would be extremely bad. This poses an unacceptable risk to people and property on the ground (or even in the water). Most aircraft with engine fires do not kill anyone on board, so why risk ...

61

Air Transat Flight 236 experienced a complete power loss over the Atlantic Ocean in 2001. Yes, all passengers and crew survived after the aircraft glided 75 miles to a runway on the Azores islands. Even in the event of the loss of all engines, an aircraft can keep its critical electrical systems running thanks to the ram air turbine which allows the crew to ...

61

When you are breathing, oxygen ($\mathrm{O}_2$) and carbon dioxide ($\mathrm{CO}_2$) are exchanged between the alveoli in your lungs and the environment. This gas exchange is based on diffusion, which means the partial pressures of each gas involved will move towards equalization: Henry’s law states that the amount of a specific gas that dissolves in a ...

58

At cruising altitude there is between 4 and 8 tons of pressure acting on the inside of the door. There aren't too many passengers capable of exerting that much force on the handle (and even fewer handles that won't just snap off). Latch type doors have interlocks or over-center latches that prevent operation with a pressurized cabin. It's theoretically ...

56

Given that the 777-300ER could have easily flown the remainder to LA with one engine -- which means it could have easily diverted to a nearby larger airport -- why didn't it? Standard operating procedure for engine failure on a twin calls for emergency and landing as soon as possible. That was their closest diversion point at the time, so there they landed. ...

52

Let me posit a hypothetical game ("Don't Try This at... well Anywhere"). It's simple - there are just 3 rules: Give your friend a nice laser pointer and have them stand at the end of a road A half-mile or so should be plenty. Get in your car at the other end of the road and drive toward your friend. Your friend's goal is to shine the laser in ...

51

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 ...

49

What's the procedure? The procedure is, be creative to save as many lives as possible! Really. The procedure is to determine a course of action which will likely result in the best outcome for everyone, utilizing all resources and given all constraints. Period. It is as simple as that. There are infinitely many scenarios, and one cannot be trained for ...

49

If an aircraft encounters a serious problem quite soon after departure that forces it to land immediately, the aircraft may be above its certified maximum landing weight. This is because there is still a lot of fuel in the tanks, which adds a lot of weight. As @RonBeyer mentioned in a comment, landing overweight can have a number of serious consequences. ...

48

For many medium and large sized jets the maximum gross takeoff weight is higher than the maximum landing weight. If the airplane has an emergency that requires an air return or other landing in the early part of flight, it is very likely overweight for landing. The plane has 3 options at this point: Land overweight Dump fuel (if able) Fly around at low ...

47

There are two problems linked to the wind after accidents: Inflating the slides. Running away from the aircraft when on the ground @DavidRicherby listed the reasons related to running away upwind to try to avoid the effects of flames and fumes (visibility, heat, toxicity). This is part of the IATA guidelines for post-evacuation: Post-evacuation. Once ...

47

There is a procedure, at least for the aircraft crew. It is appropriate for a flight crew to transmit a "pan pan" or even a "mayday relay" so a passenger should immediately inform the senior cabin crew member, usually by asking to speak to the "purser". SOS is an internationally recognised distress signal. If the purser did not act upon it, I would ...

45

Honestly, as a passenger, you're not really qualified to look for problems. If you're a pilot qualified and with experience in that type then you might see something. I've had passengers tell my flight attendants that they saw flames coming out of a seam in the engine cowling. It was actually a section of orange rubbery material that was sticking out and ...

45

Ejection Seats are not a free ticket out. They are incredibly violent and rough on your body. This newspaper article has a more chilling quote from an interview: About one in three will get a spinal facture, due to the force when the seat is ejected - the gravitational force is 14 to 16 times normal gravity and it might be applied at 200G per second. ...

45

It isn't practical for a number of reasons: Intentional stalls are inherently dangerous. Stall-spin accidents are a major cause of accidents, stall recognition and recovery are taught specifically to avoid stalls. Some airplanes have docile stall characteristics, but even those can still bite you. A Cessna 172 will drop a wing if mishandled, especially ...

44

This headline made the news this week: Passenger Snaps Photo of Fuel Pouring Out of a Dreamliner's Wing: The passenger, Ann Kristin Balto from Tromsø, noticed the highly disconcerting leak as the plane was taxiing to the runway—before it actually took off. After alerting the stewardess, the flight was immediately cancelled. So fuel leaks are one thing ...

44

Best case scenario: You're straight and level, on frequency with some form of human being, there's no immediate danger and you have the know-how to transmit. In that case, that human will provide you with everything they possibly can to help you. Most important thing for you to do is keep the aircraft away from clouds, away from terrain and not panic. You'll ...

44

It is possible for the engine to not respond to shutdown sequence, so you'd have to get the passengers off before dealing with the rogue engine. In the Qantas Flight 32 one engine had an un-contained turbine failure in engine No. 2 leaving them unable to shutdown engine No. 1. This was due to a piece of debris severing all communication to the engine, ...

44

I think you might have heard about the Ram Air Turbine, which is deployed in case of some aircraft in case of loss of main electrical power supply. From A320 Systems briefing: In case of total loss of all main generators, the RAT is automatically extended and drives the emergency generator via a hydraulic motor. The location of the ram air turbine ...

43

The writer was dramatizing things a bit maybe, it's possible to ditch a jet fighter and survive, however your chances are much better ejecting. Ditching is an option for any aircraft, with some airplanes ditching is the only option if there's a loss of power over water, for example commercial jets have no mode of egress other than the doors. I fly light ...

43

There is absolutely nothing "typical" about such a situation, which is also why - as is the case for most abnormal situations and emergencies - there are no detailed and specific standard procedures for dealing with it. Many ATC units around the world have adopted the general "ASSIST" checklist to deal with abnormal situations. This would ...

42

The order is "Aviate, Navigate, Communicate". As a pilot, your first responsibility is to keep the plane flying. After that it is to avoid hitting something or to avoid getting lost. After that comes communication. There are many instances of in-flight emergencies where the pilots never talked to anybody about it, because they were busy flying the plane... ...

42

To supplement Jimmy's answer, if they had to land right away, they could have; it just would've resulted in an overweight landing being recorded, and which on most airliners triggers a special inspection of the landing gear and its attaching structure, and if nothing is permanently bent or cracked or broken, you are good to go. An overweight landing in ...

41

The short answer is to sit down, shut up, and stay the heck out of the way. That's what I would do. If you can quietly help the one or two people sitting next to you do the same, you're doing your part. Seriously, the last thing the flight crew needs in a flight emergency is extra distractions from passengers - especially those without directly relevant ...

Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible