Flight safety

2006-09-12

in Security, Travel

Emerson driving the boat

Those who were amused by Tyler’s discussion of airline safety in the excellent film Fight Club may enjoy a leader article (what the Brits call an editorial) from this week’s Economist. It purports to be an accurate version of the spiel you get every time you board an aircraft. It confirms what I have already heard, read, and believed and I am pretty sure they did their homework. It is also fairly funny:

Your life-jacket can be found under your seat, but please do not remove it now. In fact, do not bother to look for it at all. In the event of a landing on water, an unprecedented miracle will have occurred, because in the history of aviation the number of wide-bodied aircraft that have made successful landings on water is zero. This aircraft is equipped with inflatable slides that detach to form life rafts, not that it makes any difference. Please remove high-heeled shoes before using the slides. We might as well add that space helmets and anti-gravity belts should also be removed, since even to mention the use of the slides as rafts is to enter the realm of science fiction.

Please switch off all mobile phones, since they can interfere with the aircraft’s navigation systems. At least, that’s what you’ve always been told. The real reason to switch them off is because they interfere with mobile networks on the ground, but somehow that doesn’t sound quite so good.

The bit about water landings is, of course, especially dire. Just think about what would happen when a huge jetliner landed on water. It would either stall before hitting the water and fall more or less straight downward, or plow at a rate above stall speed forward into the water, in which those huge jet engines would rapidly cause the plane to slow. Passengers would be thrown forward with enormous violence. Far better to have seats facing backwards like in military transport planes, but who wants to pay $1000 for a ticket and then be reminded that you may end your flight as part of a mile-long trail or debris or cloud of polluted seawater?

All that said, flying is still definitely the safest way to travel long distances, and considerably less risky than failing to exercise and maintain a healthy diet, in terms of the risk of getting killed.

PS. Please note that these pictures have nothing to do with the posts in which they are embedded. They are just nice portraits from CF2 that I wanted to include in the blog. The very best photos will appear on Photo.net once I get my lovely Mac back.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan September 12, 2006 at 5:03 am

Part of Tyler’s commentary:

Tyler Durden: [pointing at an emergency instruction manual on a plane] You know why they put oxygen masks on planes?

Narrator: So you can breathe.

Tyler Durden: Oxygen gets you high. In a catastrophic emergency, you’re taking giant panicked breaths. Suddenly you become euphoric, docile. You accept your fate. It’s all right here. Emergency water landing – 600 miles an hour. Blank faces, calm as Hindu cows.

Narrator: That’s, um… That’s an interesting theory.

Ben September 12, 2006 at 8:56 am

Did you also have the cushions that act as floats?

B September 12, 2006 at 11:00 am

It’s cool how many more photos of people you have now. I guess you really did leave your friends in Vancouver.

Milan November 22, 2007 at 6:21 pm

See also:

Premature touchdown
November 22nd, 2007

Milan January 16, 2009 at 8:50 am

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