Flying may be more horrifying than you think.
You're sitting on a plane trying to relax when a terrible thought crosses
your mind: What would happen if that airplane door opened?
Commercial airplanes pressurize their cabins to match the atmospheric pressure
of 8,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level, even though the cruising altitude of
the plane you're in is 30,000 to 45,000 feet in the air. As altitude increases,
atmospheric pressure decreases. This is due to Earth's gravitational pull on the
air molecules in the atmosphere. The closer to the Earth's surface the stronger
the force exerted on these molecules. If the door were opened the plane would
depressurize in less than 0.5 seconds. Unless your seat belt is fastened you and
any loose objects would immediately be ejected due to the difference in pressure.
During such a scenario survival rates are very slim given the possibility of the entire
plane breaking apart.
Because the air is substantially thinner at high altitudes there is substantially less
oxygen. A gradual decompression in the cabin will cause the oxygen mask to drop
from above and on average you have 18 seconds to put the mask on before
hypoxia kicks in. Hypoxia occurs when oxygen levels decrease, causing
symptoms of nausea, dizziness and unconsciousness leading to death.
The oxygen reserves on the plane would last for only 10 minutes.
Enough for the pilot to descend rapidly to 8,000 to 10,000 feet to match both
the internal and external pressures and give you hope for survival.
Freaked out yet? Don't worry, the chances of the door opening are so
small because there's eight to ten pounds of pressure exerted on every
square inch of the plane.Remember there's more pressure inside the cabin
than outside. Using the largest commercial airplane the Airbus A380 as an
example, the main door measures 4288 square inches, meaning a 38,592
pounds of force would be required to even begin to open it.
To compare this would be equivalent of you trying to move 3 African bush
elephants - the largest land mammals on earth.Additionally,
plane doors are almost always electronically locked by the pilot through functions
accessible only from inside the cockpit.And to ease your worries more: It would
also be nearly impossible for someone to punch and break through an airplane
window.These windows can also be made with up to six layers of various
types of strong polymers and are bulletproof.Furthermore, these windows
are almost always rounded to decrease drag while in flight, thereby preventing
cracks and decompression.You're more likely to die in a car than during aviation
with a 1/114 chance of car accidents compared to 1/9821 for air travel
related accidents. So fasten your seat belts, pay attention to your safety
videos, and above all enjoy the flight.Thank you so much for watching!
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1. What would happen if that airplane door opened, as per the video?
2. How dangerous do you think airplanes are?
3. Do you ever get afraid when you are flying? How do you get over it?