Who's Online

We have 1310 guests online

Live Traffic Feed

Life in the Skies

'A Local Bestseller!'

What Tony says
(See here)
and Book Launch video here
What others say

Les Posen

Yvonne Lee

Louisa Lim & Allan Koay

Aireen Omar, Asran & Bo Lingam

38 Readers' Comments
(See here)

Get an autographed copy here

AMAZON.COM  -  To Order, please Click here 

(eBook) Kindle edition - please Click here

Latest Comment

A successful SIA Cad
the deadline i guess it's the end of this februry,

Singapore Airlines P
Hello captain Lim , I am Ray . I would like

What are the eyesigh
sir i have -0.25 in my right eye and 0.75 in left

Spontaneous Pneumoth
I'm not a doctor or anything, @chinmay, so I can't

What are the cruisin
The idea that the earth is spinning is plain bulls

Singapore Airlines C
Hello Captain Lim, I am an Indian citizen, Engine

Spontaneous Pneumoth
my grandmother is 70 yrs. old also sugar patient.

Does a jet aircraft
From what I understood Flat earthers are just uned

A Boeing 777 can’t f
Aircraft airspeed systems measure how fast the air

When and how does th
I don’t know

Paperback Version

 For Local Availability - Check Here
Home > Air Travel > Why passengers in a plane are not provided with parachutes?
Why passengers in a plane are not provided with parachutes?
Flying - Air Travel
Wednesday, 12 December 2007 22:27

Dear Captain Lim,

My name is Ben and I am sixteen years old. I don't fly that often these days, but just recently, I have never been so scared of flying!

In July, I flew to Almeria, Spain from Manchester. I live in Glasgow but had to drive to Manchester as there were no flights from Glasgow. I felt the drive was safer. My fears are, what if the plane is struck by lightning and the tail falls off. Please try and answer this hypothetically. How does the plane stay up? I know it sucks in 5,000,000 tons of air per second but can you measure that? I have never been to America and I would really love to go but I am far too scared to fly!

I have to fly to London in a few months time and I am absolutely petrified! When I am in a plane, my heart beats at 200 beats per minute! I used to love flying but then last year when I was in Almeria, the plane was delayed for 5 hours, so I had to fly to Heathrow on a much bigger plane! Now, here is the first time I had experienced, what I would have thought to be severe turbulence. I heard a bang and then the plane just dropped. I thought I was going to die. So I took out my mobile phone and wanted to say my goodbyes. Then it stopped for 2 minutes and then it started to drop again. I looked behind me and I saw every one holding onto their seats and were screaming! There was a warning announcement of the turbulence but I had no idea it could be that bad!

My main fear in flying is during the take off, and as I look out of the window, I wonder how the engines are able to stay on? If one fell off, what would happen? When I hear weird noises, that is when I start to panic. I HATE take off as I feel like I am sinking. I really feel dizzy. I don't mind the cruising part although I just think what if the plane can't suck in anymore air and starts to drop! What if there is an engine failure at 37,000 feet?

My favorite part of the flight is during the descent as I know I am coming closer to land! I also want to know, when the plane is turning, how can it balance and why it doesn't just tip and nose dive? I am hardly bothered by terrorists. I have a small fear of them, but my main problem is:-


Why can't we all get parachutes so that if there is a crash, we all can jump out? That would make me feel safer! So can you give me all the reassurances I need to cure my flying antics?

Your website is unbelievably helpful, thanks Captain. Can you get back to me as soon as possible as I have a flight soon?

Thanks again,


Hi Ben,

You have so many questions and they have mostly been answered on my site if you have taken the trouble to go through all of them, especially on how an airplane stays in the air, turbulence, how a pilot cope with an engine fire and many others. Take your time to browse through them when you are free.

I will answer your question on why passengers in an airplane are not provided with parachutes. If you have read my topic in this site on "How safe is flying?", you would realize that flying today is very safe. Partly because of that, the conventional philosophy of commercial air transport is, parachutes are unnecessary. This is in contrast to the military fighter pilots who require them because they are liable to be shot down. Even passengers in military transport airplanes are not provided with parachutes.

Now, I will tell you why and what are some of the problems that come with your suggestion. About seventy five per cents of air accident occurs during the landing and take off phase. That may constitute about less than 10 percent of the total flight duration. Airplane rarely have technical problems during the cruising part of the flight unless there is an in-flight explosion caused by a bomb, such as the one in the Lockerbie accident over Scotland. In this case, parachutes would be useless anyway. Even, assuming that there are parachutes available, there would be problems for the passengers. Do you know that if you want to be a qualified parachutist, you would have to undergo a recognized course lasting for weeks or months? Do you know that, if you are able to evacuate from a great height, you would encounter problems of hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and extreme temperatures? I have a question from one reader asking me whether a person falling down from the sky would be conscious. A medical scientist who read my answer have added more details on this topic. If you are interested, please go to 

Bearing in mind the many problems that may arise, it was found impractical to equip passengers with parachutes. No commercial aircraft manufacturers would design their planes with parachutes. None has ever done so. What would the passengers think of?

Wish you a pleasant and safe flight always!


TrackBack URI for this entry

Comments (10)

Subscribe to this comment's feed
Would a parachute work?
I was just googling the answer to the question of why airplanes don't employ parachutes, and I guess you answered that.
What I want to know now, is whether a parachute would be helpful in a plane crash?
I see lots of potential problems in using a parachute during a plane crash, including:
1. Being able to get to the plane door (due to the tilt/speed of the plane)
2. Being able to open the plane door (due to differences in pressure?)
3. Jumping out of the airplane without getting hurt (due to hitting the plane on the way out)
4. Being able to open the parachute (due to lack of training)
5. Having the parachute work successfully (due to turbulence, or momentum while leaving the plane?)

I know there are differences in how a plane can crash, or in the type of plane, but I was wondering if you could briefly address the feasibility of parachuting from a crashing plane in a hypothetical situation. Thanks!
Chris , 22 Apr, 2010
How Not To Feel Dizzy While Plane Takes Off!
Hello Guys!
I Have Been Facing A Problem I Used To Feel Dizzy When The Plane Takes Off......

I really Hate It it even happens now
But now it doesnt Happen!

All You Have To Do Is Hold Your Both Ears With Your Both Hands Tightly!

I Now It Is Really So Bad!

Something Happens In Your Head Like Its Going So Fast And Something Like Diziness
Just Dont Worry!

Use The Way I Gave u u will not feel so fast
u will feel something but u will be looking not like that so much

it will be like

First U Use to Have 100/100

And Now 10/100

~Mark Edward
Mark , 30 Jan, 2011
Crash proffing airplanes
I wonder how come we still do not have a concrete way of saving passengers for an airplane that is doomed for crash. I can understand that not having a crash situation is a biggie because you would have to consider human error factors and the environment factors, but for some reasons the commercial airlines seems to be chasing the whole idea of reducing machine errors by setting up redundant systems all across the airplane. My question is in case of a ship when it is bound to sink, people are panicky you never know which way would the ship tilt, you might be crushed under its weight, it might pull you into the ocean due to its sheer size all factors remain but still you have something as a backup "LIFE BOATS" ...when is the concept of life boat going to be implemented in airplanes, that is my big question?
Tobin , 26 Mar, 2011
there was only 2 water landing successful, probably why we do not have any lifeboats on board.

About the Parachute, i believe it a s money problem and also airplane design. To safely unload 300+ passengers being airborne can be complicated especially if the passengers do not have any training; there are also special designs needed such as for example the most common one: a big ramp at the back of the airplane that can open and close.

I do not agree with the oxygen issue tho, If the airplane is going down, it s a matter of waiting until the airplane drop to 5000 meters before passengers jumped out. calculations based on speed altitude and vertical speed will give to the pilot the precise time they have to safely unload the airplane airborne. It s true tho, everything would have to be very well planed and airplanes would have to be entirely redesigned, Plus the fact companies would lose money because more space would be needed therefore less seats on the plane
xavier , 22 Nov, 2011
I think here after reading lots of the articles that having a life parachute as a safty measures for passenger airborne is noting but the best option as to a life boat for a ship. hence a life saved is worth more than the amount spent in building an aircraft. also depending on the design mechanism its practically possible to design an airplane so that the parachute can be compressed to a small school bag with a little valve for oxygen (if oxygen would be the problem of safety)and the plane can be brought to a lower altitude for passengers on board to eject out of the plane safely.

Therefore there are no excuses for the transfer of blame during plane crash.
Engr Ezinwa , 07 Jun, 2012
People are so Stupid
There is no good excuse for not having Parachutes for all passengers & crew of an airplane. Ive seen Tanks dropped out of airplanes. If a door needs to be put on the back like on a b52 then do it. If the plane needs to keep a lower altitude if order for it to be safe then you do that... If people have to give up first class privileges & huddle around the emergency hatch just to be safe than that's what you need to do. I guarantee if you ask anyone about to hit the ground in an airplane if they want a
1) parachute & a open door
2) trust the integrity of the craft with its hearty construction & the skill of the pilot to make an emergency smash landing into at best an empty field.

Im guessing 100% would choose option #1
Josh26Indy , 18 Oct, 2012
The Danger of Parachuting from a commercial jetliner

There is a good reason why commercial airlines don't issue parachutes to its passengers and crews. Let me just repeat or add to what the others have already said.

1) Minimum AC speed
Every aircraft would have a minimum stall speed to stay airborne meaning if you go below this speed, the aircraft would cease to have lift and literally drop like a rock. In order for a passenger to jump from an airplane, most commercial aircraft would have to slow down below this speed just for the passenger to be able to survive the jump, let alone the drop, the safe deployment of the chute, and the eventual touchdown.

2) AC design

Second, let us say the pilot is able to keep the aircraft stable, with the design of most modern jetliners, there is a big chance you may hit the elevators on your way out. The only safe door to jump would be to the rear of the plane. Getting 100 people out in the ground in two mins is hard enough, imagine getting them out while airborne. At 5000ft, you may have only two to three mins to get people out the rear door before it gets to low for a parachute to deploy. And this is when the plane is able to glide properly. And this is hardly the case. In layman's terms, imagine sitting in front of a roller coaster, then you will need to get to the rear of the coaster while it is in motion and you have less than 2 mins to get there.

Tanks can be dropped from airplanes that are specifically designed for that purpose. Military aircraft have been designed and tested for that. Commercial ac are designed to carry civilian passengers, not paratroopers.

3) ejection seats.

You might probably say why don't we put ejection seats on a commercial plane? Actually, you can do that. There are just a few problems you would have to answer.

A) cost

The cost to put ejection seats would be enormous. A single ejection seat would cost at least a hundred thousand dollars. That would amount to almost half of the cost of the aircraft already. It would also reduce the amount passengers the plane would be able to carry due to the size and weight of these seats. This would make commercial flying not financially feasible. Would you pay a thousand dollars to get from Los Angeles to San Diego? I think not

B) safety

Ejection seats are actually not that safe. The forces involved are very violent. Fighter pilots who have undergone an ejection don't usually escape unharmed. And they are trained for these type of situations. What more if your grandmother had to use it?

The best possible solution is really just to make aircraft safer. And they are. With every crash, lessons are learned and are actively being improved on. Your chances of surviving in a plane is actually higher than when you have to evacuate with a parachute. Fighter pilots would actually do everything in their ability to land the ac before pulling the ejection chord.

I apologize for any errors for grammar and spelling. It's hard to write using an iPhone. Cheers and safe flights to everyone.

PALPILOT , 22 Oct, 2012
Very good explanation
Very logical and reasoned explanation, Palpilot.
Marta , 05 Nov, 2012
Is there any way passengers can be saved when an airpane is about to crash? why do some airplanes end up crashing? What are some safety measures done? I just want to know cause I knew someone who was on board of a plane that fell & was a horrible accident. This scares me to be on an airpane & die.
Dude , 14 Dec, 2012
So, being somewhat of an aviation fanatic, I think I'll take up the challenge of providing real life examples of some of the scenarios which Ben mentioned where all crew and passengers on board survived. Here goes-

Nationwide Airlines Flight CE723 - right engine fell off during takeoff rotation, airplane was still able to get off the ground and make an emergency landing on one engine. (no injuries)

Air Canada Flight 143 - double engine failure after running out of fuel at 41,000 feet, the aircraft was successfully landed at a closed runway which had been converted to a race track after gliding for about 35 miles. (10 minor injuries during evacuation)

Air Transat Flight 236 - Ran out of fuel over the Atlantic due to a fuel leak, landed successfully at Lajes AFB in the Azores. (18 minor injuries during evacuation)

US Airways Flight 1549 - double engine failure after takeoff, ditched in the Hudson river. (3 minor injuries, 2 serious)

RE comments by Tobin and xavier, in the above incident the escape slides were in fact used as life boats and helped people to escape the sinking plane.

I don't have a specific example of an airliner getting hit by lightning, but it's actually a fairly common occurrence which almost never causes problems of any sort, since they're designed for it. Hope this helps.
John , 16 Dec, 2012

Write comment

smaller | bigger


Paperback Version

 For Local Availability - Check Here

Recommended By..


'A Local Bestseller!'

Recommended by

Patrick Smith
Boston USA

Capt Meryl Getline
ex-United Airlines USA

Capt Doug Morris
Canadian Airlines

Capt  Robert J Boser
ex-United Airlines USA

38 Readers' Comments
(See here)

Get an autographed copy here

AMAZON.COM  -  To Order, please Click here 

(eBook) Kindle edition - please Click here

View Book Launch video here

Follow me


Like What You Read?

If you like what you read, more stories are found in my book LIFE IN THE SKIES (Preview here) and you can purchase a copy here. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my Twitter at @CaptKHLim or Facebook here

MH 370 Interviews

Click here to View

10 Most Popular Posts

Disclaimer | Privacy
2004 - 2011 © AskCaptainLim.com | Site Concept by eQuilec.com