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Why Don't Airlines Have Parachutes for Passengers?

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Why don't airlines have parachutes for passengers?

Andrew Hennigan:

There are four reasons why you don't find a parachute under your seat on commercial airlines:

1. Parachutes are bulky, heavy and expensive. They would not even fit under your seat, they would occupy a lot of space, and add a lot of weight. They would also need regular inspection and repacking. To provide several hundred per airplane would add significantly to costs, making flying much more expensive.

2. Passengers are not trained to use them. Without a minimum of training most people would not even be able to strap the parachute on correctly, never mind open it and land safely. Even on the ground and with plenty of time this is not easy. In the confined space of an airliner and in a high-stress situation it would be even more difficult.

3. There isn't a convenient way to jump out of typical airliners. You would need to redesign aircraft with a special jumping exit. Just jumping out of normal side-facing airplane doors or emergency hatches you would probably hit the wing or the tail. You would need to install a ramp on the rear of the cabin.

4. There are very few situations where it would save anybody. You would have to be in a situation, in daylight, over land, where there is no hope of a landing but plenty of time to get everyone out. I can only think of a single case in the entire history of civil aviation where it could have been useful—The United Airlines Flight 232 case—but then only if the aircraft had been redesigned with a rear exit. Even in that case, jumping was as risky as staying aboard.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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History
When Chuck Yeager Tweeted Details About His Historic, Sound Barrier-Breaking Flight

Seventy years ago today—on October 14, 1947—Charles Elwood Yeager became the first person to travel faster than the speed of sound. The Air Force pilot broke the sound barrier in an experimental X-1 rocket plane (nicknamed “Glamorous Glennis”) over a California dry lake at an altitude of 25,000 feet.

In 2015, the nonagenarian posted a few details on Twitter surrounding the anniversary of the achievement, giving amazing insight into the history-making flight.

For even more on the historic ride, check out the video below.

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History
How the Wright Brothers' Plane Compares to the World's Largest Aircraft
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The Wright brothers famously built the world’s first powered, heavier-than-air, controllable aircraft. But while the siblings revolutionized the field of aviation, their early plane looks tiny—and dare we say quaint-looking—when compared to the aerial giants that came after it.

In Tech Insider’s video below, you can see how the Wright brothers’ flyer stacks up against the scale of other aircrafts. You'll notice that size doesn't always guarantee a successful journey. The Hughes H-4 Hercules—the largest flying boat ever made—never made it past the prototype stage, performing only one brief flight in 1947. And the Hindenburg, which was 804 feet long and could fit 80 Olympic swimming pools, famously exploded on May 6, 1937.

Today’s longest commercial airliner is the Boeing 747-8, which measures 251 feet from nose to tail. While slightly shorter (238 feet), the Airbus A380 is certified to hold more people than any other plane in the air—a total of 850 passengers. That record won't last long, though: In a few years, the Stratolaunch carrier—the widest aircraft ever built—will dwarf its contemporaries when it takes to the skies in 2019. Built to launch rockets into orbit, its wingspan is about the size of a football field, even bigger than that of the Hughes H-4 Hercules.

Still, what the Wright brothers’ plane lacked in size, it made up for in ingenuity. Without it, these other giants may never have existed.

[h/t: Tech Insider]

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