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Scientists deliberately crash a Boeing 727 in groundbreaking experiment

A team conducted an experiment by intentionally crashing the Boeing 727 to understand what it's like to be in a crash.

Scientists deliberately crash a Boeing 727 in groundbreaking experiment
Cover Image Source: YouTube|ABC News

Experiments have a bizarre nature as they require some of the weirdest and most random scenarios to take place. Though the results of the same can be rewarding, the idea of experiments is authentic and unique in its own way. As mundane as they seem, they are crucial to making necessary findings for the betterment of the world. Simple Flying reported a unique experiment where the team deliberately crashed a plane from Alaska Airlines, the Boeing 727 as part of an experiment. The whole idea was to figure out which seats had the best chances of survival. USA Today reported that much effort was put into the study with key persons as part of the experimenting team.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Shoval Zonnis
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Shoval Zonnis

"The chances are that if you're in a crash, you will survive," said Tom Barth, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board. The experiment was conducted in 2012 in Mexico and scientists have made some intriguing conclusions. With only 2 pilots and the engineer onboard, the plane took off and was ready for the crash shortly."We're not trying to scare anybody here," Hansman says. "But the more we understand them, the more we can do to make airplanes even better in the future." The members onboard had their parachutes and were equipped with the necessary safety measures to get out of the plane before it crashed.


"You knew they were getting a rough ride in there," Shanle, a former Navy test pilot said. Once the pilots and engineer were out, the plane was remotely managed shortly after which it crashed to the ground 460 meters descending. Since the plane and the crash were part of the simulation, there were cameras and dummies present inside the plane. Upon its crash, the plane broke into several pieces but did not explode. The results of the experiment proved quite fruitful in understanding the impact and making several conclusions for knowledge purposes. Concerning the impact on passengers, those most at risk were the pilots and passengers seated in the front rows.


"In terms of relative safety, my view is that the front of the aircraft is more vulnerable,” said Anne Evans, a former flight crash investigator. She also mentioned that she recommended or preferred the middle or rear seats. Those near the wings would have injuries but not life-threatening ones. The passengers in the rear seats receive minor to minimal injuries, even posing the possibility of being unharmed. In addition to this, the experiment also discovered that passengers adhering to safety protocol and taking a bracing position were less likely to have major injuries like spinal or cognitive.


Cindy Bir, a professor of biomedical engineering who was part of the experimental team said, "Between the lower-spine issue and the vulnerability of sitting upright and having debris flying around, I think the brace position is still the way to go to prevent injuries.” It was revealed that the bracing would likely cause more fractures or other injuries due to the pressure on the feet. The aircraft’s experiments are mostly conducted via simulation method but to give a more specific and detailed understanding, the Boeing 727 was used for the same after 35 years of service.


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