Why is there still no system to save passengers from a falling airplane?
OK, we know air travel is relatively safe. But there are crashes. And when they are about to happen there is absolutely nothing anybody can do to save the passengers. Once we sit in the pressurized tin we can only hope the pilots will manage to get off and back on the ground without smashing everybody into pieces.
Fighter jet pilots can get ejected, in car you at least have a good safety belt and an air bag, and a helmet on a bicycle. Yet on the plane, which travels the fastest and without ability to do an emergency stop on the way, we only get a fixed waist belt and a lifejacket to float on water?
Individual ejection seats do not seem practical but aren't there other, more clever ideas?
For example, why not devise some kind of parachuting system for the whole fuselage that would deploy on demand or automatically. Think how we get probes on other planets — parachutes slowing down and stabilizing descent, eventually landing softly on inflated bags. Or look at Orion's Capsule Parachute Assembly System (CPAS). It's not like it hasn't ever been tried with airplanes — see this small plane landing safely in the ocean using an emergency parachute.
Expensive? Perhaps, but only initially, and I bet there would be enough people more than willing to pay a premium on their airfare for added safety!
Especially now with the continued preoccupation about safety — which of course is a great business — I wonder why there is no discussion about such solutions.
There are some excellent responses to my question at Quora.com!
travel air travel airplane safety business invention parachute landing probe airbag