Don't bother with the life jackets

For anyone who flies regularly, the Economist’s truthful flight safety annoucement is a must-read.

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4 Responses to Don't bother with the life jackets

  1. derrida derider says:

    The bit about life jackets is not quite true – there’s at of at least one ditching of a wide-bodied aircraft where some people got to use the jackets – some details here. Though a lot drowned when they inflated their jackets before they escaped and were trapped, so maybe you would be better off without them.

  2. Christine says:

    Why wouldn’t anyone buy tickets if seats were rearfacing? Would it really make a difference in a plane where you’re not feeling acceleration except on takeoff, and don’t really notice the movement at all during the flight?

    My husband has met one of the survivors of the flight derrida mentions (US consul in Mumbai at the time). I gather that was one of the few times lifejackets might have been useful – water not too cold, very close to shore (a few survivors swam in, rescuers swam out).

  3. derrida derider says:

    From this week’s Economist:

    SIR – The bright-yellow lifejackets are not intended to act as flotation devices. They are there to make it easier for the recovery services to spot the bodies strewn across rough terrain. (I was once asked to put on a life-jacket over central Germany, some 300 miles from the sea.) And the advice to adopt a head-down fetal position in the event of a crash landing does nothing to preserve life, given that the stall speed of a modern airliner means it will connect with the ground at terminal velocity. However, the position does tend to preserve dental data, useful for identifying dilapidated corpses.

    Roger Willis

    Peel, Isle of Man

    A relatively common accident is for airliners to overshoot a runway at realtively low speed and end up intact in water (think Mascot airport), and that life jackets have actually been of use in these circumstances.

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