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By markshian
Many people these days fear for their lives when travelling on planes due to the fact that thier safety and emergency features just aren't good enough.

Some planes have two engines some have only one. Let's say all the engines are down. The plane usually goes crashing to the ground due to engine failure.

Maybe if i design some kind of giant parachute twice the size of an airplane which can be opened during an emergency which would help the plane glide safely to the ground.

In case of emergency landing on water.

To prevent the plane from crashing into the water. the parachute will first help slow down the pace of the aircraft and allow pilots to control the landing angle.

A giant air bag which can be designed to blast open at the bottom of the plane so it stays afloat the ocean upon landing.

And even if the plane does crash into the water, if the impact didn't split the plane, the baloon at the bottom will bring the plane to the surface of the water.

Reward: Many lives will be saved. Safer more ensured journey.
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By Michael D. Grissom
Mark,.. for the average weight of one human passenger a parachute of at least 26 feet in diameter would be needed. A parachute for say 300 passengers would be 300 time bigger. Then you have to figure how much parachute you need to add for the fuel laden airplane which weighs far more than the 300 passengers. You can probably see where this is going... one enormous set of parachutes. Then you'll have to make the airplane 30% bigger just to have space to store the parachutes and their anchors. Add to that sequential deployment so you dont rip the airplane apart by deploying at 700+ mile per hour -- more weight/space. Adding the air bag would then double/triple the size of the airplane...

NEVERMIND -- it's already been done. :-D
By ashtoo
It has been done for small planes (2 passanger planes maybe?).
I'm not sure if it is commercialised, though.
As for heavy airliners, I dont think it's feasible due to the weight of the plane.
By ashtoo
"will first help slow down the pace of the aircraft and allow pilots to control the landing angle"

The plane has to be flying at a minimum speed for the pilots to be able to control anything. A parachute would probably slow it down too much (below the minimum speed).

Maybe there is something you dont understand: a plane does not crash because it looses its engines. A plane can very well land on an airport without any of its engines (that's what the space shuttle does). The gliding part is not the problem, it's the touchdown part that is. A plane without engines may be forced to land on rough ground, and that's where it hurts. Planes are usually designed to land on smooth runways only.

Your idea has the advantage that lives could be saved even in case of a total loss of control of the plane due to, for example, a torn wing, a jammed aileron/rudder or other situations that would normally be fatal.
By Rishi
MDG got the sequence and the numbers right. Ashtoo added the stall speed bit. The control of the plane comes from the lift of the wings, which can be manipulated by the ailerons etc. But if the plane has the massive chutes MDG describes not much is needed by way of gliding control.

Of course one has then no way of landing the plane in any particular place. Even a parachutist manipulates the lines of the chute to avoid power lines, trees and such. A cheaper alternative could be to have smaller chutes for seats three abreast or some such thing with separate ejection mechanism, which could be nightmarish to design.

Can we think of a sort of cotrolled crash? Assuming that sufficient altitude is available(not always true), allow the plane to start falling. When the velocity exceeds some value jettison the wings (Using explosive bolts as in space launch vehicles?). Jettison the cargo hold next using a similar mechanism, and finally deploy a parachute at either end of the passenger cabin. MDG's numbers could still be worrisome, unless we can permit a rather more rapid drop rate combined with a controlled collapse of the cabin floor. What effect side winds will have will keep a dozen aeronautical fellows happy for months on a simulator/comp.

By ashtoo
Rishi, your idea is very interesting.

Dropping the wings (with the engines) and the cargo area may remove a good part of the weight of the airplane. I propose dropping the cockpit too with the pilots inside as they werent doing their job well anyway |-D

Just kidding. But frankly, this may be the best way to parachute a plane. But i'm guessing it will cost a lot.

Why not have it the other way?
Have the tail of the plane blown off and slide the whole passenger compartment out of the back of the plane.
It'll be like opening a russian puppet, if you know what I mean.
As for the pilots, they can have individual ejectable seats.
By ashtoo
I was picturing the thing in my head, and I think there's a problem with having one parachute at each end of the passenger compartiment.
From the moment in which one of the two parachutes deploys, the passenger compartiment will become vertical, with the side of the undeployed parachute at the bottom. That might pose a problem for the deployment of the second parachute.
By Rishi
Dear ashtoo,
The modern technology for parachute deployment is quite advanced. Synchronised deployment is not all that difficult. Still the question of cost remains.

Your other concept of a pssenger pod is interesting. There was a concept being worked out a few years back for an airship (Lighter-than-air). The pod would be loaded up in the terminal on a truck, which would then move it to the airship to which the pod would be docked. Then up, up and away. Revese happens at the arrival point and the people delivered to the terminal in the pod.

No deplaning, no contact with the weather outside. If this is done for the plane then the pod can drop off the plane and the parachutes deployed later. Pilots can eject separately as you said.

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By Steve
ashtoo wrote:It has been done for small planes (2 passanger planes maybe?).
I'm not sure if it is commercialised, though.
As for heavy airliners, I dont think it's feasible due to the weight of the plane.

Did anyone else see the TV report today? A small plane that had problems over Texas launched the parachute today. The report said it was the first time it was ever used in a live emergency situation. It worked as planned, the plane was brought to the ground safely and the pilot got out of the plane without injuries. ;-D
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By Michael D. Grissom
HAHAHAHAHAHA... no but, I did read a few months ago where a newly manufactured plane on a demo ride got into serious trouble and when they tried to deploy the chute, nothing happened. They landed safely in a field and when the plane rolled to a stop, the chute deployed!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! That had to be embarrassing!
By llemmart
put it in different sections have a parachute for each one
By teken894
Why not--instead of useless life jackets, have inidividual parachutes for every passenger. If the engine does go out, the plane can glide to a low altitide where it's safe humans to be exposed to the air pressure, then just go skydiving for a while :D

I mean, i think a parachute makes more sense than a lifejackt -_-..
have on of em cheap lifejackets, but get a cheap parachute too..
By sdt6585
A little more info on the plane that actually uses this, it is the SR22 Sirrius, and there is a discription of the system at wikipedia
I remember talking about the guy who actually deployed this when I used to work ath the airport as a lineman (gotta love the guy with the batons!!) If I remember correctly, the rumor was that there wasn't really anything wrong with his plane, he just got scared. Well, at least there wasn't anything wrong with his plane until it parachuted down when it was totalled......he was fine though.

On another note, I think I would rather stay inside the plane unless there is a major collision and structural damage occurs where there is no chance of a safe landing. I know pilots don't do a whole lot anymore since those planes basically land themselves (I landed a 757 simulator at southwest with 300 ft ceilings and 0 visibility.....dead center, smooth as ice!!) but, the pilots do know what they are doing in an emergency......I'm sticking with them!

Not trying to put down your idea though, it would be a nice option......maybe they could first focus on making the airplanes a little of the main reasons that the sirrius can use a parachute is the extensive use of Carbon Fiber (I think?) But this technology still needs some work as can be seen by the recall of the Raytheon/Beechcraft/Scaled Composites Starship One (possibly the most interesting airplane ever)

Good Luck! ;-)
By cmiller
What if Every ten or so rows of seats were actually in an invisible container, When trouble accurs the cantainers full of people would be somewhat catapolted out of the rear of the plane. Simular the way the military drops off tanks and cargo... Some lives may be saved, and the airline could charge more for the last ten rows. J/K
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