137

If your parachute fails to open entirely you are almost certainly extremely dead no matter where you land, however occasionally people do survive. A partial failure of a chute is much more survivable. You will be coming down much faster than you would with a good chute, and you are going to get injured, probably badly. Think broken legs and arms with neck or ...


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....


78

From a jump instructor, whose chute failed: You landed in a blackberry bush, right? Yeah, it was less than a meter high and it wasn't super dense but it was better than hitting than the hard floor or hitting the lake. If I'd landed in the water I would have been knocked out just the same and broken the exact same bones. But my lungs would have ...


74

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 ...


42

Yes, parachutes need to be repacked regularly. The length of the interval depends on the material of the parachute and is between 60 and 180 days. Every parachute should have a small pocket with a piece of paper which lists the most recent repack date and the name of the packer (who needs to comply with FAR part 65, subpart F). FAA part 91.307 says: (a) ...


41

Qualification: I am a master parachute rigger, taught the sport for 10 years and have packed a couple of thousand emergency parachutes. I can put an apartment-size piece of nylon into a purse in under 5 minutes, and guarantee that it will open. How nicely it opens is a different question. It usually takes about 45 minutes to service an emergency parachute - ...


40

Parachutes are heavy, expensive, difficult to use and will be useless in pretty much any air disaster. In order to parachute from a commercial aircraft it would need to be in a stable attitude, at low speed and below about 12 000 ft. Short of an aircraft losing power to all engines like the Gimli Glider, in which case ditching in the ocean or finding an ...


37

For me, it seems that air can escape the parachute by this hole That's the point, air HAS to escape the parachute anyway, and without the hole it would do so laterally and in an uneven fashion, leading to lateral oscillations. The hole allows the air to escape in a controlled location, avoiding undesired and possibly dangerous oscillations. Some (most ...


36

The main reason that parachutes are not used is that there are very, very few aircraft accidents that occur with enough time to actually use one. In fact, I'm not sure that there have been any. Below are a couple examples that you may originally think that parachutes could have been useful on because they initiated from a high altitude. Air France 447: ...


33

Hello - your Friendly Neighborhood Parachute Rigger here. Sport chutes are pretty reliable, have been since the mid 90s to the point where more accidents happen under fully functional canopies. If we disregard rank stupidity like tying the flaps shut1 or incompetent packing we find that the leading cause of malfunctions is bad body position on ...


30

Almost all fatal accidents happen during take-off or landing, where parachutes would not be of any help. If the accident happens at a higher altitude, and the aircraft is still more ore less flyable, it is much less risky to attempt an emergency landing and save most or all of the passengers, than risk parachuting them (the other answers have plenty of ...


27

To the best of my knowledge, all commercial aircraft being tested have their pilots take on parachutes and hi-vis clothing in addition to creating a possible means of egress on all important flights, such as the first flight and high-speed tests. Since getting the cabin doors open is practically difficult, the solution I think most producers use is to ...


27

It is called a drogue parachute and I don't think that any of the present generation large commercial aircraft use them. That said, a number of older commercial aircraft have used them, a good example being the Sud Caravelle. Image from eu.airliners.net There are some issues with using drogue chutes in a commercial airliner, which would limit their ...


26

I compete in aerobatics where parachutes are required by the rules. My personal criteria for bailing out are Structural failure (a wing breaks off -- unlikely, as my main spar is enormous) Control failure (flutter, stuck elevator) Inability to see or control the aircraft (oil on the windscreen, maybe a bird strike) I might jump for an engine fire just ...


26

Thankfully, I never had to make this choice. In my training I learned to stay in the plane and flare at the height of the treetops, then let the plane sink into the branches and have them stop and suspend the aircraft. The fuselage is quite effective as a protective shell, and up on top the branches are thin and flexible. Use the parachute only to hoist ...


26

An impact on land has a small chance of survival, an impact on unbroken water has none. Falling from thousands of feet without a parachute is very likely a death sentence, but there are a handful of cases in which people have survived. In nearly all of them, it is because the person landed in particularly hospitable terrain, like hitting a number of ...


25

For several reasons. First to protect the drogue from damage by scraping on the pavement second to prevent it from becoming snagged on nearby objects third to prevent metal components on the drogue from hitting and damaging the tail of the aircraft, and fourth to make it easier to taxi back to the ramp without the need for higher power setting to overcome ...


25

The "sudden upward tail movement" requires nothing more than a sudden unloading of the tail by removing that 90+ kg of man, parachute, and money. Even with an aircraft as large as a 727, suddenly removing 90+ kg from the tailcone airstair would result in a pretty noticeable shift in trim requirement, with additional tail downforce required to restore level ...


24

Using a parachute is not a easy job. It require large amount of training, even well trained army para units face more casualties during para jumping. The key odds for using parachute in a commercial airline are Untrained personal using a parachute is much more risky and it may not serve the purpose of saving the life. We may not expect all the passengers of ...


23

From what I learned, different types of parachutes don't make them 'old' or 'new'. They are used for different purposes. For example the dome shape parachute is usually used for static line jump where no maneuverability is really required. They drop vertically relatively to the plane path when air friction is negligible. The other kinds are usually used ...


21

The profit in aviation in 2013 was about \$11.7 billion, on \$708 billion revenues. So the profit margin in global aviation last year was about 1.6%. How do you expect that to work when you remove about 10% of the fare-paying passengers by replacing them with 8-10kg parachutes? That is about \$70.8 billion you lose there, every year. Assuming it would save ...


20

I'm adding this as an answer, because it is too long to be a comment, but it is meant as a supplement to the already accepted answer As a skydiver of 13 years, and having been a member of two different national teams and three different national skydiving associations (US, NO, DK), I will add that repack cycles are in most countries/states defined for ...


19

As you have intimated in the question, how hard you hit the ground is very dependent on a number of factors. When I did my training to jump using a classical tethered round chute we practiced landing from a platform of about 5 feet, so six is perhaps a hard landing. That's, roughly, hitting the ground at 12mph. Folks like the Red Devils typically use an ...


18

Qualification: I am a master parachute rigger and I taught sport parachuting for 10 years. The back door of a 747 is actually in a pretty good position - the tail is above the door and the fuselage is narrowing at that point so it's not a complete side exit. A freefall jumper will drop out of the aircraft's wake in under a second so that's not really an ...


17

Qualification: I worked at a busy drop zone for 10 years. Just announce yourself on the airfield frequency about 5-10 minutes out and they'll tell you what's going on, including which runway is active and how high they are jumping from - standard altitudes are 3000ft and 12,000ft AGL. At our place it was really simple: left-hand for 34, right-hand for 16. ...


15

Pressurization is controlled by two processes: air in and air out. Air is constantly being let out of the cabin through (at least) 2 outflow valves, typically located at the aft limit of the pressure vessel. Air is let into the cabin through the air cycle machines (a.k.a the "packs") which are provided with very hot and high pressure air from the ...


13

On your comment of: Can you possibly think of an instance where having a chute would help in a GA plane? Yes, I can, and here's a video: Bet those guys were happy to be wearing chutes alright!


13

Paratroopers are sometimes dropped from large cargo carriers planes out of the backdoor (or side door) with little trouble. (right in the wake turbulence) However by the time you open your parachute you will already be well clear of any turbulence caused by the large airplane.


12

There are several good answers above, but another important thing to consider is that it's impossible to jump out of a commercial airliner (except the 727, which is rarely still found in passenger aviation) while in flight, unless a hole has opened in the fuselage or it has otherwise become depressurized. The doors have to be pulled in to open, which is, for ...


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