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Real air crash helps future of air safety

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Occupants are crash-test dummies; crew parachutes out

In a rare insight into what happens during a real air accident, the new Discovery Channel program Curiosity is scheduled to broadcast on Sunday how a Boeing 727 belly-flops in the Mexican desert. Its occupants are crash-test dummies, but the aircraft is real. The dramatic crash was staged for scientists and investigators to study air safety in greater detail. It was modelled on past disasters in which a plane loses power before touching down hard and breaking into pieces. A small number of crew on the doomed plane parachuted out and the aircraft was then flown by remote control.
Scientists discovered that in this case flying first class would have been fatal. Passengers in the middle of the cabin would probably have suffered concussion and broken ankles, and those in the rear could have walked away.
“The chances are that if you’re in a crash, you will survive”, one investigator says. “We’re not trying to scare anybody here. But the more we understand [plane crashes], the more we can do to make airplanes even better in the future.”
A video of the crash can be seen at: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/2012/10/01/inside-a-doomed-jetliner-tv-show-stages-727-crash/1606749/?csp=Travel
USA Today
[photo courtesy Discovery Channel]

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