You don’t have to have aerophobia (the fear of flying or being on an airplane) to be concerned about your safety while traveling by air. Even though advancement in technology has made air travel safer, you cannot help but feel a little scared when there’s turbulence. You might even tighten your seatbelt, grab onto the armrests, and try to remember everything the flight attendant said when the flight took off. That’s when you will notice – the airline has given you a life vest but no parachute!
Military aircraft and fighter jets always have parachutes on board, but commercial airlines do not.
Military aircraft, such as fighter jets, have several parachutes that passengers can use in times of extreme emergencies. In such situations, jumping out of the plane may be their only option for survival. On the other hand, commercial aircraft, such as the Boeing 737, can carry as many as 200 people. Thousands of people around the world use these airliners every day to travel from point A to point B. So, why don’t airlines provide parachutes on board these planes for the safety of passengers? Actually, there are several good reasons for that. Let’s find them out.
For starters, most regular passengers do not have the necessary parachute training.
Hollywood would have us believe that jumping out of an airplane requires nothing but bravado. In reality, however, parachuting is extremely complex, and it requires hours’ worth of professional training. Even the most basic form of skydiving, known as tandem skydiving (where you are strapped to an expert throughout the process), requires you to go through at least an hour of training. Accelerated freefall or AFF, on the other hand, is the riskiest form of skydiving. This solo freefall starts at 10,000 to 13,000 feet above the ground. To do this, you would need even more specialized training and a lot of practice.
Moreover, jumping out of an aircraft in an emergency and skydiving for fun is not the same thing. One is a matter of life and death, and the other, though highly risky, is a type of adventure sport. Besides, skydiving takes place after careful consideration and painstaking planning. For example, jumps are always pre-planned. Skydivers know beforehand where they will jump, what they have to do, and when they have to do it. Even a slight change in weather conditions can cause the whole thing to be canceled.
On the other hand, while traveling by plane, regular passengers are not expecting to jump, and they would not even know how to or when to jump in the event of a crisis. Just imagine the chaos and fear everybody would experience in an emergency. Even something as basic as putting on the parachute correctly would seem like a monumental task. So, skydiving out of danger does not seem very practical here.
Commercial airplanes are not designed for skydiving.
Planes that are used for skydiving tend to be much smaller than commercial airliners, and they are emptied as soon as the skydivers jump. On the other hand, military aircraft are large and have a ramp at the back. Parachutists use this ramp to jump safely while avoiding the fuselage (the main body of the aircraft). Commercial airplanes, however, do not have a small body or a ramp. Jumping out of such a plane is extremely risky as the diver could easily smash into the fuselage, especially the wings and the tail.