Airplane hour on Mythbusters

Status
Not open for further replies.
W

willpittenger

Guest
What do people think about the Airplane hour episode of Mythbusters? (Mythbusters is a Discovery Channel show that might also air on BBC in the UK.)<br /><br />The myths on that episode:<li>That someone with no training at all could land a passenger airliner. They claimed that no flight has ever had both the pilot and copilot incapacitated. Personally, I think that a Helios Air flight and 4 aircraft on 9-11-2001 all qualified. But those were ignored for reasons that weren't mentioned and weren't even mentioned themselves. (Plausible)<li>That from 4000 ft, a skydiver can fall for 90 seconds without pulling his chute. (Busted)<li>That you can hold a conversation while skydiving before pulling your chute. (Busted)<li>That someone can catch up with someone else that had a 15 second head start and reach them before they pull their chute. On the show, they had a skydiver shoot past the first skydiver, but no attempt at an intercept was made. (Officially, plausible; but without the intercept, I count it as busted)</li></li></li></li> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
J

jschaef5

Guest
I was expecting more, was a bit disappointed.<br /><br />#2 and #4 could be proven easily with physics and #3 is a no &%$#@!, think about going 60 mph in a car and talking to the car next to you with windows down, now double that speed... <br /><br />About #1:<br />And how many of those planes on 9/11 landed safely... and also they said "no training" <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
K

kerberus

Guest
I think he just meant the part about no flights ever having both pilots incapacitated. The Helios Air flight he mentioned is a good example of it. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
W

willpittenger

Guest
Correct. As for one of the 9-11 flights, on one, the passengers almost took back the cockpit. Since the crew were probably dead, who do you ask to land? The terrorists that want to crash the plane deliberately into something important and don't care one iota about landing safely? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
P

PistolPete

Guest
Concerning #1, there is no evidence that during 9/11 any of the passengers even made it into the cockpit let alone regained control of the aircraft to be talked down by ATC so it is moot. In the Helios Airways Flight 522 incident both the pilot and copilot were incapacitated due to hypoxia. A flight attendant made it to the cockpit using a portable oxygen tank but was unable to contact ATC for some reason.<br /><br />Here's something that I found interesting in the Wikipedia article:<br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>DNA testing revealed that the blood on the aircraft controls was that of flight attendant Andreas Prodromou, a pilot-in-training with approximately 260-270 hours under his belt.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />Funny, with that many flight hours you'd think he'd be able to keep the 737 in level flight and could have used a sectional or AFD to tune the radios to an appropriate channel and made contact with the ground. If he had done so he might have been the first person to be talked down by ATC.<br /><br />So when they stated in the episode that there has never been a situation where both pilot and copilot were incapacitated, they were incorrect. They were, however, correct in saying that no person has ever been talked down by ATC. Andreas Prodromou is the closest, but he never made contact with ATC. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><em>So, again we are defeated. This victory belongs to the farmers, not us.</em></p><p><strong>-Kambei Shimada from the movie Seven Samurai</strong></p> </div>
 
W

willpittenger

Guest
<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>A flight attendant made it to the cockpit using a portable oxygen tank but was unable to contact ATC for some reason.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />The radio was set to the channel for the ATC where the flight originated. Prodromou did not attempt to use the radio until some time had gone by.<br /><br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Funny, with that many flight hours you'd think he'd be able to keep the 737 in level flight and could have used a sectional or AFD to tune the radios to an appropriate channel and made contact with the ground.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />By the time he attempted to fly the plane, it was out of fuel. The Air Emergency show I watched on National Geographic had the port engine failing first. The plane then turned and dove in that direction out of control. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
K

kerberus

Guest
The only thing worse than cheap-ass Boeing using the same warning horn for cabin depress and takeoff config problems is the pilots failing to recognize the situation. Unbelievable.<br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
P

PistolPete

Guest
<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>The radio was set to the channel for the ATC where the flight originated. Prodromou did not attempt to use the radio until some time had gone by. <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />That's pretty much what I'd figured. Still, with 200 some odd hours you'd think he would have been able to find one of the sectionals and get an ATC freq off of it.<br /><br />On second thought, after looking at the timeline given in the Wikipedia article, the poor &%$#@! only had nine minutes from the time that he was seen entering the cockpit by the HAF F-16 pilots to the time that the left engine shut down due to fuel starvation, and fifteen minutes more until the plane crashed. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><em>So, again we are defeated. This victory belongs to the farmers, not us.</em></p><p><strong>-Kambei Shimada from the movie Seven Samurai</strong></p> </div>
 
K

kerberus

Guest
I'm not sure that timeline is completely correct; the timeline I saw elsewhere showed the FA not entering the cabin until after the engines shutdown, which would be consistent with B-737 system design. Either way, I have to agree he didn't have time. The charts were most likely packed in flight cases, and once they were out it would have been difficult for him to find an appropriate freq in such a short time. The radios themselves are not very intuitive, either, even if he had found a freq and tried to enter it. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
S

spacefire

Guest
<font color="yellow">That someone with no training at all could land a passenger airliner. They claimed that no flight has ever had both the pilot and copilot incapacitated. Personally, I think that a Helios Air flight and 4 aircraft on 9-11-2001 all qualified. But those were ignored for reasons that weren't mentioned and weren't even mentioned themselves. (Plausible) </font><br /><br />someone with enough Microsoft Flight Simulator training could definitely find the radios, program the autopilot and the FMC, and maybe land the plane even without ATC assistance. <br /><br />from an AOPA article I read, someone with just a PPL could conceivably land an airliner. The guy that wrote the article had done it in a sim.<br /><br /><br />someone with zero training would have a zip chance of even figuring out that they need to tune to 121.5. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>http://asteroid-invasion.blogspot.com</p><p>http://www.solvengineer.com/asteroid-invasion.html </p><p> </p> </div>
 
C

CalliArcale

Guest
<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>someone with zero training would have a zip chance of even figuring out that they need to tune to 121.5. <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />Which was pretty much what Adam and Jamie demonstrated on Mythbusters. They had zero training and were completely mystified by the cockpit instrumentation. <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> It was nice to see that talking them down did work.<br /><br />Of course, I have heard of cases where non-pilots were talked down. However, they were not in airliners and thus not applicable to the myth. They were all in small aircraft. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
W

willpittenger

Guest
<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Someone with zero training would have a zip chance of even figuring out that they need to tune to 121.5.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote>Which was pretty much what Adam and Jamie demonstrated on Mythbusters. They had zero training and were completely mystified by the cockpit instrumentation. <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> It was nice to see that talking them down did work.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />Actually, I think the point you quoted was that the "would-be pilot" would be unable to figure out the radio -- or maybe even locate it. Try talking them down before they do that. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
C

CalliArcale

Guest
*smacks forehead*<br /><br />There goes my reading comprehension. <img src="/images/icons/tongue.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
R

rocketwatcher2001

Guest
I've often thought that passengers should be better trained on how to use the Emergency Exits if they are the ones that have to open them. I doubt that more than 5-10% of the flying public could do it in an emergency. It's not hard to do, but when it's pitch black with smoke in the cabin and seconds count, most people would be dead before they got the door/window open. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
B

billslugg

Guest
I have put a lot of thought into your thesis. I think that getting the window open is the easy part. When you sit down in a seat, you need to look how many rows back the exit is and memorize that number. I think it will be confusion in the aisle ways that doom most people. You get just one guy who is trying to go in the wrong direction, and you have a major fistfight. He thinks you are trying to keep him from freedom. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p> </p> </div>
 
S

scottb50

Guest
I agree with Rocket, in some aircraft you have to pull the release and lift the window out of the frame, in others it just comes out. On others the window is heavy and big and you have limited space to maneuver it. Standardization would be a big plus. <br /><br />As far as confusion and congestion the only real answer is more exits, then you talk more weight and fewer passengers, money talks.<br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
W

willpittenger

Guest
I should also point out that there would be a direct correlation between the number of <font color="yellow">working</font>exits and the speed of evacuation. Why did I highlight the "working" part? Well, there is a reason why when the FAA tests new aircraft to see how many people they can be licensed for that a test with one or more blocked exits and a full aircraft is performed. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

ASK THE COMMUNITY