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153

Short answer The kinetic energy involved in a plane crash is inhumanely high. Slightly longer answer We can built bombs which will go through concrete roofs and ceilings of a bunker, counting the number of floors they crash through while descending so they can explode at the level where the bad guys sit and not where the widows and orphans are kept. We ...


111

Because ditching is extremely, extremely rare, so the costs of redesigning aircraft along with the extra drag and weight (increased fuel burn) it would no doubt add to the airframe far outweighs the potential benefits. That argument might sound weird to someone, but think about it this way: would it seem reasonable to redesign every single car on the planet ...


91

wouldnt that work for keeping a majority of passenger jets from crashing? The majority of passenger jets don't crash. Designing an aircraft like that would incur very substantial weight penalties. The Space Shuttle booster rocket parachutes weight 990kg, each (it needs 3) plus 550 kg for the drogue chute needed to pull out the main canopies. Plus another ...


86

Extremely safe. Firstly, your pilots will have access to much more detailed and real-time weather information than you can get. They want to get home safely as much as you do, and will not fly if it is not safe to do so. If the wind is coming from straight ahead, there is no maximum limit, which is good as aircraft takeoff and land into the wind whenever ...


82

While still in the airspace, you should contact the controller if you can, since it may be important to safety. After landing, you may get the dreaded phone number from a controller (probably tower or ground) which you're supposed to call and speak with someone from the FAA. You should not volunteer any information about the incident during this call ...


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....


79

There are several reasons: First In, First Out They are given precedence to board the airplane before others, and precedence to disembark the airplane before others too. Quieter Environment On commercial airplanes, engines are on the wings which are in the aft of first class. Hence first class is quieter, which is a better experience. Low Turbulence ...


74

The cost of a jet engine is mainly dictated by the operating conditions: high temperatures (sometimes above the melting point of the metals used) and high rotation speeds. This means you need high-performance materials even for a low-reliability engine: if you compromise material performance too much, it'll fail on the first start. Failures are risky. ...


73

I work in aero engine safety but not for the company that manufactured the engine in the event you mention. Parts falling off engines is Not Good. We worry about them hitting people below the aircraft. And as Koyovis mentions, losing the nacelle or portions thereof (looks like in this case it was the intake and fan cowling) can change the aeroelastic ...


72

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 ...


72

Bird strike happens all the time - almost on a daily basis. See avherald : there are 9 instances of bird strike in the past 7 days at the time this answer is written. Usually it is ingested into the engine (which usually turns out to be a non-issue), other times it impacts the cone or leading edge of the wings or knocks off a pitot tube. While a few ...


71

It isn't a black and white issue of who has higher authority. A pilot in command (PIC) is the ultimate authority for the safe operation of his airplane. An air traffic controller is the authority for the block of airspace or pavement he controls. When you are operating under ATC, it is your responsibility to comply with their instructions as long as ...


70

Very little to go on (non-pilots are lousy at classifying turbulence) but my best guess is that you experienced moderate turbulence. If it was severe, your description would have been something more like this: I couldn't focus my eyes to see. Someone who wasn't belted down was flung violently against the ceiling, then slammed to the floor. The ...


69

Yes. Human beings can get sucked into jet engines if they are close enough- this has happened multiple times in a number of aircraft ranging from A319 to A6E intruder. However, it happens only in rare cases- usually in case of miscommunication or a mistake, when safety procedures are not followed. The following image shows the safety hazard area for ...


67

This is a Military Standard fuel cap, part number MS29525-1. Here is the DOD page for the products: MS29525-1. It is most likely from a military aircraft or some kind of private ex-military warbird. There really isn't much to say on it, other than it is used by the Air Force and Navy, as well as some British aircraft. It is a universal part used on many ...


67

As far as Airbus is concerned: Each unit is composed of two dissimilar boards, one driving the output and the other checking it. Dissimilar means both different CPUs and chipsets (A320 uses i386 (Intel) and m68k (Motorola); newer models use different combinations, basically whatever was widely used at the time they were designed) and software written by two ...


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

Basically everything that consumes power on an aircraft can potentially cause interference, short-circuits, or otherwise jeopardize the safety of flight and therefore must be switchable. Sometimes the switch is in the form a button, otherwise by a fuse. There are several particular reasons that the transponder can be turned off. If the transponder ...


61

If a door is put into armed mode, it will trigger the evacuation slide when the door is opened. Prior to departure (usually before engine startup), all the aircraft doors are placed into the armed (or automatic) mode by the cabin crew. Methods of arming vary from aircraft to aircraft, but ultimately the girt bar (a metal bar attached to the door end of ...


61

If the plane crashes with high vertical speed, the decelerations involved are so insanely huge that there is absolutely no way to make it survivable. That is well explained in Even after years of research, why are planes unable to keep passengers alive in case of a fiery crash?. However in many cases the aircraft is still, at least partially, controllable, ...


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 ...


61

Yes, it has been considered, but with some differences. First, the inerting gas used is not helium - it's nitrogen. Nitrogen also doesn't support combustion, and is for practical purposes inert. It also has major advantages over helium in this role. For one, nitrogen is very close to air in density, and doesn't leak as easily as helium, so it's easier to ...


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 ...


60

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 ...


60

You can find the full incident report here and this topic is touched upon briefly, but in short they had little to no time to entertain any other options but a full speed landing. It was not until the aircraft [was] on the final descent for landing that the Commander realised they could not reduce the thrust on the number 1 engine. The speed was not ...


59

There is no time. You need to convey the information in as little time as possible or people (those few that watch at all) lose interest and start doing other things. Reasoning tends to invite arguments, there's always someone who thinks he knows better. You don't want that. Simplicity. Make things as easy to understand as possible using simple words. That ...


58

Engine #2 wasn't doing its job either Had the situation just been engine #1 stuck at high thrust, with engine 2 normally controllable, than what you describe would be a reasonable response to the situation. However, that was not the case with CX780 -- during approach, Engine #2 was stuck at 17% N1 (or rather below idle) and thus delivering effectively nil ...


57

As soon as there's a fire on board, the absolute top priority is getting everybody out as soon as possible. Aircraft are designed in such a way that, even after a crash landing (or other serious malfunction), the passengers will have a minute or two to evacuate before conditions in the cabin become toxic (fire, smoke, etc); this is done by using flame-...


57

No aircraft ever had more than two pilots (on duty at the same time). The additional flight crew members were flight engineer, navigator and radio operator. Dedicated radio operators were only needed in the early days when the radio was primitive and required some care and experience to tune properly. As it improved, operating radio was merged into ...


56

There are a lot of good reasons not to roll such an airplane. If the plane has gyroscopic instruments, you might tumble them (cause the spinning gyro to hit the inside of the instrument). This can be expensive. You might easily over-stress the air frame. Normal category light aircraft are rated to -1.5 to +3.8Gs. (That's for a new aircraft) A botched ...


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