Many passenger airplanes have a couple of parachutes that can be used only in challenging situations where parachutes are the only way for survival. Almost all the airlines including Oman Air, ferry more than a thousand passengers every day and wouldn’t it make sense to have parachutes for all the passengers on board? Well, no. There are numerous reasons for why airplanes do not have parachutes for all the passengers on board.
They are too bulky and heavy: If we take the case of a standard flight like the
Bangalore to Singapore flights, there would be a few hundred passengers on board including the crew members and staff. So, if the idea is to provide parachutes to all of them, there should be an equal number of parachutes as there are passengers and crew on-board. Firstly, they are quite bulky and would not fit beneath a seat. Even if we find a comfortable position to tuck it in, parachutes are quite heavy, which would add to the total weight of the aircraft. This would create a whole new set of necessities like a bigger aircraft or a more powerful engine and the like.
Special training: If you have watched English action movies, you will have an impression that a newbie can efficiently use a parachute and land safely. However, this is not the case. Without proper training, a person will not be able to even strap a parachute correctly, never mind opening and landing safely. So the passengers need special training to make use of the parachute. Even trained people find it difficult to do it correctly under stressful situations.
A convenient exit: There isn’t a proper exit in the existing air crafts. Jumping out of the normalexits or an emergency hatch would definitely make you hit the tail or the wing. A feasible solution would be to attach a ramp to the rear of the cabin. It is easy said than done and is almost impractical. For this to be installed, the whole aircraft will have to be redesigned.
Very few chances: Another important factor why parachutes aren’t installed is because there is a very less chance that a parachute may actually save someone. It should be daytime, flying over land, in a considerable weather and have enough time for all the passengers to jump out and get rescued.
Commercial airplanes fly very high: Skydiving is done in a planned manner, and small flights are used for the purpose. Most commercial flights cruise at an altitude of 35,000 ft. The speed is also incomparable. Plus commercial planes are simply not designed to be conducive for people jumping out of it.
Jumping with a parachute without proper training is as risky as staying aboard. In a nutshell, having parachutes on board is not a viable solution, both practically and economically. Even if it is introduced, the probability of parachutes saving the lives of passengers is virtually non-existent.