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Discussion » Questions » Transportation » Why are there flotation devices under airplane seats instead of parachutes?

Why are there flotation devices under airplane seats instead of parachutes?

Posted - October 6, 2019

Responses


  • 3932
    I've been asking myself that question for years. So many lives would have been saved if parachutes we on board of a plane. At least you would have a chance of survival.   At the very least there should be a fireproof parachute on the plane. One in the front one on each of the wings and one on the back. 
      October 6, 2019 9:12 AM MDT
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  • 29277

      Parachutes attached to an aircraft would not be effective in slowing down its descent because of the weight and the speed. The wings themselves are practically the most “brittle” part of an aircraft, for lack of a better word. The weight and bulk of the fuselage is tenfold that of the wings, and the points at which the wings are connected to the fuselage aren’t strong enough to keep the wings from snapping off if parachutes were deployed.
      Even attaching parachute technology to the fuselage instead of the wings wouldn’t work, once again because it wouldn’t sustain the weight. The size and type of parachute needed for that would add thousands of pounds to the average aircraft, and keeping the weight as low as possible is a top priority for flying safely. 

    ~
      October 6, 2019 11:16 AM MDT
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  • 29367
      October 6, 2019 11:35 AM MDT
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  • 29277

      Your point?  

      Commercial airliners traverse countless routes over various types of terrain, various developed areas, against various wind currents, at rapid speeds, and carry dozens or hundreds of people. What is depicted in the graphic you’ve posted is a controlled drop of a cargo platform (most likely unmanned) over a pre-planned zone in ideal or close-to-ideal weather conditions. To equip a commercial airliner in that manner is not impossible nor implausible, however, to use it in a real-life emergency situation fully loaded with passengers and crew at a few seconds or a few minutes notice is completely whack. 

      Nice try, Professor. Back to the drawing board.

      October 6, 2019 2:07 PM MDT
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  • 29367
    Cargo planes don't have windows. I know what you are saying...it's just a fun picture.
      October 7, 2019 11:04 AM MDT
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  • 12648
    I like the look of this.  However, I would always worry that there would be a malfunction and the passenger cabin would separate  and crash while the pilots cruise on into Paris. 
      October 7, 2019 1:17 PM MDT
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  • 3932
    Drats, there goes another brilliant idea down the tubes. hahaha
      October 6, 2019 5:52 PM MDT
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  • 29277


     Not much gets past ol' Detective Randolph D, my dear.


    ~
      October 6, 2019 6:38 PM MDT
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  • 4941
    It would be fair to say the FAA considered this many years ago.
    But here’s the problem: Modern commercial aircraft are not compatible with parachuting. Opening any of the sealed passenger doors (they are all on the sides, which alone presents a deadly wind shear) in flight would cause the cabin to depressurize, compromise stability of the aircraft and sweep passengers and contents into the blue yonder, at (typically) hundreds of mph, and possibly striking the plane or being drawn into the spinning engines. 

    Considering most people have no jump training, have never strapped on a parachute, and compounded by what would be certain panic of the situation, evacuating in the air presents at least as much peril as it may solve, and bring additional danger to people and places below. 

    This post was edited by Don Barzini at October 6, 2019 5:50 PM MDT
      October 6, 2019 9:41 AM MDT
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  • 46255
    Imagine crashing over New York and knowing you have a nice float device under your seat.  How comforting.  
      October 6, 2019 10:03 AM MDT
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  • 29277

      Parachuting is not an easy task for anyone, but it’s not even easy for those who train at it extensively. It’s extremely dangerous, and the smallest error or unplanned or unintended mishap can lead to serious injury or death. Aside from the mechanics of putting on the chute properly and know when or how to jump, there is also the factor of landing properly. If a parachute is used over a body of water,  in a built-up area, busy roads/highways, at night, during bad weather, all of these instances multiply the danger. Aircraft carry numerous people, so in an emergency, a dozen or dozens of them might be deploying at once or for several staggered minutes. If they don’t know what they’re doing, there’s a potential for crashing into each other midair. Lastly, the person using the parachute is not the only one in danger; people on the ground stand the chance of injury or death. 

    ~
      October 6, 2019 11:06 AM MDT
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  • 29367
    Smart-a** answer: There are no parachutes to put the flotation devices under.
      October 6, 2019 11:33 AM MDT
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  • 12648
    To make you feel a little better when your flight is going over the ocean.  I once sat next to a guy who, like me, hated to fly.  He said he would prefer seats that bounce off of cornfields to those that would float.  I never forgot him.  He kept me laughing from Alabama to London.
      October 6, 2019 4:48 PM MDT
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  • I was born with really good flotation devices. 

    I think the ones on planes are just there for people who aren't already hanging on to me.
      October 6, 2019 5:56 PM MDT
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  • 29277

      Hey, wait just one second, Missy.  Have your "flotation devices" been approved by the FAA?  I think I'd better inspect them to be sure they meet specifications . . . 


    ~
      October 6, 2019 6:34 PM MDT
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  • Already tested and certified:  Unsafe but Fun .


    This post was edited by Benedict Arnold at October 7, 2019 11:05 AM MDT
      October 6, 2019 7:01 PM MDT
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  • 46255
    You were BORN with those?  That had to be awkward.  
      October 6, 2019 7:40 PM MDT
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  • Santa brought them one Christmas.

    I was really hoping for a GameBoy
      October 6, 2019 7:53 PM MDT
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  • 29367
    A GameBoy or a game boy toy?
      October 7, 2019 11:06 AM MDT
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  • 158
    Probably because once the plane crashes, it's too late for the parachutes to be deployed. 
      October 6, 2019 6:17 PM MDT
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  • 6640
    Don Barzini listed a number of practical and scientific issues that would essentially make the use of parachutes on commercial flights essentially infeasible.

    If the flight crew knowingly make a controlled emergency landing on water. having an individual flotation device would potentially be of some use to passengers.

    The FAA implemented rules under which circumstances (kind of operator, number of passengers, weight, route) an aircraft has to carry emergency equipment including floating devices such as life jackets and life rafts.

    Ditching button on the overhead panel of an Airbus A330---Some aircraft are designed with the possibility of a water landing in mind. Airbus aircraft, for example, feature a "ditching button" which, if pressed, closes valves and openings underneath the aircraft, including the outflow valve, the air inlet for the emergency RAT, the avionics inlet, the extract valve, and the flow control valve. It is meant to slow flooding in a water landing.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_landing 
      October 6, 2019 6:49 PM MDT
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