Photo: Discovery Channel
Deliberately smashing a multi-million dollar plane into the desert packs high entertainment value, but the elaborate experiment, which kicked off the second season of Discovery Channel’s “Curiosity” series, wasn’t just for gasps.It was also part of an effort to make the 2.8 billion flights that hit the skies each year safer.
“This groundbreaking experiment looks at what actually happens during a plane crash and the science behind passengers’ best chance for survival,” the Discovery Channel writes in a statement.
A similar demonstration was carried out by NASA in 1984, resulting in a fiery explosion.
Will this time be different?
A 170-passenger Boeing 727, dubbed Big Flo, is used for the experiment. Here she is before the crash.
Big Flo takes off from an airport in Baja California, Mexico, carrying a pilot, co-pilot and a flight engineer.
The cockpit completely separates from the rest of the aircraft, which is fairly disconcerting for pilots.
Cameras capture the scene inside the plane which shows luggage tumbling out of the overhead bins and oxygen masks deploying. The cabin fills with smoke and dust.
Now it's time for the scientists to investigate. First they review the footage from the 19 cameras inside the plane.
This is the first real-time high-resolution video anyone has captured from inside an actual plane crash.
The team found that first-class passengers would have died whereas those in the middle of the cabin would probably walk away with nothing more than broken bones and concussions. The folks in the back of the plane were safest.
The flight experts found that bracing for impact by putting your head down and placing your hands over your head can be a life-saver.
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