airplane safety


Inspired by 99% Invisible, episode 422- In The Unlikely Event, 11/17/20 by Roman Mars

Listening, I learned that airplane accident fatalities are often not caused by the impact. Instead, tragically, they are caused by not exiting fast enough.

The industry seems to want to blame this on passengers not following instructions. I want to blame it on a failure of imagination in airplane and airport design.

Imagine your airplane has just landed and taxied up to its gate. The pilot comes on the intercom and says "Please keep your seats until we have come to a stop in the terminal." The nose cone flips up and practically everything in the plane slides out and rolls up into the terminal all in one piece. The passenger cassette stops in the terminal and the aisle widens, the sides open and the passengers easily get out with no waiting. Their luggage came into the terminal with them and it rises up to be claimed right there. In a few minutes it is ready to accept passengers for its next destination. They check-in, drop off their luggage and find their seats. When all passengers are seated, the cassette closes and slides back into the airplane. The windows are actually flat panel displays in front of each seat, connected to cameras, so anyone can see in any direction. Most agree this is much better than the old fashioned windows on the older airplanes. Passengers can record videos and pictures, and receive them as souvenirs by email. The weight and space saved by not having conventional windows made the passenger cassette possible.

In the event of a forced landing, the cassette quickly ejects onto wheels or runners. The nose cone stays attached as a windshield, and in a few seconds all the passengers are quickly separated from the fuel tanks. In a water landing the cassette becomes a raft.

At an old fashioned terminal the plane is backward compatible.