Plane Crashed Intentionally By Researchers: Who Survives?

11:08 PM, Oct 2, 2012   |    comments
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Undated -- A Boeing 727 crashes in the mexican desert, but no one is hurt, and no one is surprised by the crash -- because it happened on purpose!

A team of scientists and investigators made it crash to study crashes for aviation safety and a Discovery Channel program: Curiosity. They based the crash on others where a plane lost power and speed before hitting the ground hard. It started with pilots on board, but they ejected just before the crash site and another pilot flew the plane by remote control.

The plane slammed into a dry lake bed at 140 miles per hour with crash test dummies and sensors on board to analyze the crash. 

And here's what they found: The pilots would have survived the crash, but flying in first class would have been fatal. People in the middle of the cabin might have had concussions or broken ankles, but they would have survived.

The test confirmed the soundness of the plane's design and reinforced the importance of wearing seatbelts and knowing where emergency exits are.

So here's a question, how realistic is this study? We asked North Carolina A&T State University Engineering professor Doctor Leonard Uitenham about the probability of this kind of crash happening again. He said, "Every airplane is different. [...] They're all going to have characteristics, emergency approach speeds and approach angles, and that is apart of the pilot training is to know how to get to those speed and set them up."

These tests findings say sitting in the middle or the back of the plane would lead to a better chance of survival. But before you change your seat assignment, listen to what Uitenham had to say, "Fuel in aircrafts are in their wings, ok, and so I would think that those that are sitting behind the wings have a higher probability of being burned because the fuel from wings would spread back."

Overall, Uitenham said flying it still one of the safest modes of travel, and, as with anything, there are no guarantees.

Pictures and Video Courtesy: USA Today & Discovery Channel

WFMY News 2/USA Today

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