Flying can be scary. We all know that it’s the safest form of travel, but even the figures around chances of dying do little to alleviate the tension some people feel when it comes to boarding time. Currently the chances of dying on a commercial flight are around the one in ten million mark, pretty small then.
Nevertheless… hurtling through the sky in a tin can with wings, on occasion, can go wrong. Here are some facts that will give you the best chance of surviving should things take a turn for the worse at 30,000 feet.
Play the odds
The majority of people involved in plane crashes survive. It’s a fact. About 75% of those hearing “Hold tight this might get a little bumpy…” live to tell the tale. It is believed that factors between making it and not are to do with mindset and preparation.
There is a critical 11 minutes during every flight where you need to be alert. The three minutes after takeoff and the eight minutes before landing. It’s another numbers game. 80% of doom destined planes hit the skids in these two windows, and usually when it’s wet. So wake up, shut the book and turn off the iPod, if you’re going to make it you need to be ready for action.
If you fail to plan…
If you fail to plan you’re planning to fail! So have a plan. Pay attention during the safety briefing, it’s boring and not cool to watch attentively, but it might save your skin. The plan can be implemented as early as the booking stage. Get seats near the emergency exit as this ups your chances of surviving. Know where you are and what you’re going to need to do should the worst happen.
Nothing is worth as much as your life
Remarkably those that survive any initial impact but still perish usually do so because they’re faffing with carry-on. Seriously, if you are flying with an important possession, put it in your pocket and forget the suitcase. There is no material object worth risking your life over.
Diet and dress in your PJs
Sad but true, those who look like they’re going to bed rather than traveling to a new destination do better when trouble kicks off. You need to be mobile, this means no high heels or awkward footwear, restrictive clothing or indeed stockings; they melt easily, which makes it real awkward to get them off. It also pays to be trim, in studies based on stats of crash survivors, it is slim males that do best.
Here’s a dramatic bit of aeroplane fact, for every centimetre of slack in your belt you triple the g-force you’ll experience on impact. So keep it snug. And keep it low, around your pelvis rather than stomach. Your pelvis is way better at taking a hit than the gut.
There are a few things you can do between hearing “We’ll be making an emergency landing”, and actually hitting the deck. There is an often talked about rule of five, it’s the average number of rows plane crash victims move after impact. Couple this with the time it takes a crashed and burning plane to become hot enough to actually melt you, which is 90 seconds, you kind of need to know what you’re going to do.
Where’s the exit and how you’re going to get to it. Count rows of seats to it, be sure you know how to unclip your seatbelt, be sure you know how to open the emergency exit in case it’s shut when you get to it. This is all good stuff. Don’t be afraid to wrap a pillow around your head, anything that will make the impact less traumatic for the body. You’re determined to survive!
Please step away from the crashed plane
If you survive the impact and get out don’t think you’ve made it just yet. You need to get to a distance of about 500 feet away to ensure safety. This will protect you from any subsequent exploding or fire. Even if you land in water, get away from the plane.
There you have it. Although there are a plenty of random factors involved, you are still in control to a degree and you definitely can give yourself the best chance possible of surviving an unplanned plunge from the blue yonder.