Vehicle: Airplane: Emergency
Escape Gliders   (+6, -6)  [vote for, against]

If we had gliders installed in jumbo jets, maybe fold up ones, people could escape from a crashing plane.
-- missingdonuts, Feb 11 2005

Not exactly a jumbo, but... http://www.airsafe....irlines/transat.htm
Large aircraft *are* surprisingly good gliders! [AbsintheWithoutLeave, Feb 11 2005]

FIRST Glider http://www.astronau.../craft/firlider.htm
The re-entry craft I mentioned. You shuld find some useful information here. [Selky, Aug 17 2009]

Missing Donuts, welcome to the Halfbakery. That is certainly an interesting premise. Could you flesh your idea out a little more, though? Where would the gliders be stored, and how? Would this be any more effective than parachutes? Does the logic that makes airlines not carry parachutes apply to not carrying gliders, and if not, then why? Have you seen my donuts?
-- contracts, Feb 11 2005

How about stowing an eagle in your carry-on bag. In case of engine trouble, have your eagle carry you safely to Earth.
-- robinism, Feb 11 2005

Or a cattoastchute.
-- Detly, Feb 11 2005

//Missing Donuts, welcome to the Halfbakery// there was such an ominous air to that, contract, its given me the giggles...
-- po, Feb 11 2005

Welcome to the bakery.I gave you a bun because it made me laugh.Have another drink and try again.
-- python, Feb 12 2005

//How about stowing an eagle in your carry-on bag. In case of engine trouble, have your eagle carry you safely to Earth.//
<Stereotypical Irish Accent> What about parrot shootin' or hen glidin'?. Not to mention budgie jumpin'?</SIA>.
-- gnomethang, Feb 12 2005

as long as there are little tv screens on the gliders, so i won't miss the rest of the movie.
-- benfrost, Feb 12 2005

Good idea, to start. However, a glider which would be capable of landing at a safe speed would rip itself apart at the jet's speed. Otherwise, you'd have a much higher stall/landing speed... an untrained passenger would have a high likelihood of biting dirt trying to land.
-- spacer, Feb 12 2005

That would be easy to remedy. Have it spread open when you slow down.
-- DesertFox, Feb 12 2005

Is that slowing down going to be before or after you achieve terminal velocity [DF]?
-- gnomethang, Feb 12 2005

Well, my little friend, if you jump out of a crashing jumbo jet, chances are, you'll be travelling more than 300 mph.

Terminal velocity of a human body is slightly less than that, I think. I knows about 300 mph.

Therefore, you will slow down.

And by opening the glider slowly, you can slowly decrease your speed.

Right, MSGDonuts?
-- DesertFox, Feb 12 2005

I was thinking about the terminal velocity of a glider waiting to extend its wings. This is basically an elongated teardrop shape and just about the least air resistant shape able to be devised. I suspect that that terminal velocity is a tad more than a human body, and much faster than the speed at which you could fully deploy a gliders wings. Wotcha think?
-- gnomethang, Feb 12 2005

Since there's already an inflatable vest aboard, how about an inflatable hot air baloon?
-- theircompetitor, Feb 12 2005

Unfortunately, the average passenger won't be well schooled in the aerodynamics of it all, so you'd have to find a way to make it foolproof, light enough to even be worth hauling about, and still retain the ability to drag a body down to land itself at a safe speed. I'd still rather be an untrained hand with a hang glider than part of a flaming ball... but I would like to maximize my survival probability.
-- spacer, Feb 13 2005

Hmmm... the FIRST glider had a mass of 444kg, pilot included, and that was designed for bailing out of a spacecraft at 17,500MPH. Methinks a craft for bailing out of an airliner at 300MPH would weigh less.

Surely a parachute would be easier and weigh less? Or better, a Paraglider. Would it carry one person or several?

The entire thing could be made inflatable. An inflatable capsule with a parachute attached, designed for an ocean or land landing. Parachutes can survive 300-500MPH, and regularly do, so there's no problem there. The weight of the capsule may be a killer, though. If it could be integrated into the plane - for example, part of the seat - I see no problem.
-- Selky, Aug 17 2009

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