Sunday, November 8, 2009

Plane Crash Test Dummies

Take a long look at these plane crash test dummies:

On the one hand, they look comfortable—as if they are relaxed or meditating. On the other hand, they look tight-necked, blissed-out, preparing for impact, ready to meet their maker.... Now that I examine them more closely, why aren’t they hunched over in crash position? And how come no one is holding that baby!

This photo is from a test plane (Boeing 720 set for retirement after 20,000 flight hours) that was crashed in the Mohave Desert on December 1, 1984. Through the FAA, the Secretary of Transportation sponsored the test which was to determine, among other things, energy-absorbing seat designs and improved cabin fire safety. The plane was flown by remote control, and an anti-misting kerosene (jet fuel) was used to prevent any post-crash fire. But the crash landing didn’t go as planned. The engine on the left wing hit the ground first, the plane yawed, and a fireball erupted inside the cabin. Despite the fact that firefighters took about two hours to put the fire out, the FAA estimated that about 19 of the 53 passengers might have survived.

There is no information as to whether or not the baby lived or died.