Self-Education and Self-Help: Hacks from Pilots to Survive a Plane Crash

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We all know that the airplane is the safest mode of mass transportation in the world. You do not need to worry about the driver who can fall asleep, a train which can be jumped off the track or crazy men who can run your car off the road. At least, that is what they tell us. But let me think a second. Hm…What about dying from a heart attack after having jumped out of a burning plane from a height of 10 km?? What about being burned alive in five seconds after one stupid bird got into the engine?

This article is for 40% of people around the globe who suffer from aviophobia. I know the tips like “Don’t panic in a plane crash” do not work! What the hell am I supposed to do? Well, keep your seatbelts fastened and your tray tables in the upright and locked position. You are going to get out of there, guys! I know how to make it though.

1. Pick the Right Seat

Are you thinking about splurging and going first-class? I can’t argue with free booze, but you are less likely to survive if your seat is near the front of the plane. When picking your seat on an airplane, always remember the “Five Row Rule”. Your chances of survival are much higher if you are sitting in the exit row or within a five-road distance from it. According to Professor Ed Galea of the University of Greenwich, plane crash survivors are normally those people who covered the distance of the five rows to safety. He analyzed 105 aircraft crashes and interviewed around 2000 survivors and crew members to come to this conclusion.

There are emergency exits in different parts of the plane. So, which one should you choose to sit next to? Go for the back of the plane. I do not want to fill your head with statistics from “Times”, just believe me that the fatality rate in the rear third of the aircraft was much lower than in the middle part and the front third. Are you ready to pay extra $5 to choose your seat and worship the ground after landing? By the way, you can pay not only to escape air crash, but you can also pay to write essay and be saved from an angry teacher.

2. Wear Survival Attire

If you want to be a winner, you need to behave like a winner. If you want to be the survival, you need to wear survival attire! Do not do that “disco queen party” dress. Synthetic fibers such as polyester and nylon are flammable. If the plane catches fire after it crashes, clothes made from these materials will melt onto your skin and burn you.

Opt for less flammable natural fibers like cotton or wool instead. One more tip, exposed skin is more vulnerable to abrasions and burns that cover one. What a surprise! So, save short shorts and skirts for another time. Long pants and long-leave shirts may not look as sexy as your skin-baring outfits, but you know what I am getting at. This kind of advice really could be the difference between life and death. One more thing, to keep your shoes on during the entire flight is the best idea. And it is better to be snickers, not flip-flops or heels. Now you are ready for the crash.

3. Brace the Impact

I better cross myself a few times, but picture the scene: something has gone horribly wrong, and your plane is starting to fall. The oxygen mask drops. So, what should you do? Put it on. Then brace yourself in the brace position. Grasp your ankles and position your legs together with your knees ahead of your feet. Rest your head and chest against your leg, make sure your head is facing down and not sideways to protect the neck.

You might think about using a blanket and pillow to help cushion the impact. But don’t! They actually increase the possibility of secondary impact injuries. Yes! You have chosen the right seat and ended up live, but it is not the right time to celebrate your survival and embrace others before you exit the aircraft and move to a safe distance from it. It is only the first part.

4. Escape in 90 Seconds

Now, you have no time for hesitation or panic. You have to act fast since all you have got is 90 seconds. Yes, it takes just 90 seconds to engulf the plane’s fuselage and blow the whole plane up. Every second you wait for someone to tell you what to do dramatically decreases your odds of survival. Do not wait for instructions or orders from the flight crew. They know only what to do when you are flying!

You might be incapacitated or stricken with negative panic, a condition where a person is so stunned by traumatic events that they physically can’t move. The first thing to do is try to remember how to unbuckle your seat belt (you have fastened it, right?). It may sound silly, but believe me, it is not. The stress of crash makes people forget that their seat belt unbuckles on the front rather than on the side like in a car. Not a car, you are in a plane that is about to explode! Once you have unbuckled your seat belt, it is time to get out of here!

Just for statistics, people who are young and physically fit have more chances of surviving at this stage. Now the idea of signing up for the gym does not sound so bad, right?

5. Do not Panic! Ok, I am Kidding. A Piece of Fabric Will Save Your Life

No time to think. Fire spreads unbelievably quickly and consumes everything in its way. I bet now you are glad to wear grandma’s woolen sweater. Hot air rises, everyone knows that. But the rule about staying low to the ground and crawl through the smoke does not work on the airplane. With so many people trying to get out through a narrow aisle, you crawling along on the floor is going to cause more problem than it solves. You can be trampled, crushed of have falling luggage land on you. What you should do instead is stay standing, find a piece of fabric or cloth to cover your mouth and nose and keep your head down.

Even a couple of breaths of smoke can cause you to go unconscious. Once you are out of the plane you want to get as far away from the crash as possible.

And now you are officially saved! And do not listen to your inner voice to come back for iPhone X. May it rest in peace. You are alive as I promised.

So, what can I say? Maybe the best tip to get out of a burning plane is really to carry your own parachute all the time, but I prefer just to fasten my seat belt. Enjoy your flight!