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Imagine: you're flying! Weee!!! But wait, where's the plane? A wingsuit? Parachute?
Anything! Uh-oh, looks like you're 6 miles (10 km) high and free-falling! So, is this
it or is there a way to hack yourself out of this dire situation?
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm a sucker for a good life hack. But let's be real:
a person's chances of survival when falling from a height of 35,000 feet (10,000 m) are
slim. By the way, why do slim chance and fat chance mean the same thing? Anyway, despite
this poor outlook, you still have a glimmer of hope! You'll be surprised to know that
if you were to stumble from the top of a tall building, you'd be in a much worse situation!
(But more on that here in a bit!) To make you feel a little better about your odds,
you can take a look at historian Jim Hamilton's book Long-Fall Survival: Analysis of the Collected
Accounts. It lists over 200 cases of people falling from a plane without a parachute and
living to tell the tale!
But you can check that out once you're safe and sound back on the ground. For now, let's
get back to your strictly hypothetical free-fall. Right from the get-go, you'd probably pass
out because there's not much oxygen when you're 6 miles (10 km) up in the atmosphere.
While your brain is on an oxygen-deprived sleep-mode, you'll be falling like a sack
of potatoes for about a mile (~1.5 km). See you when you come out of it!
While you're unconscious, here's an interesting tidbit about free-falling. Earth's gravity
is pulling you down and trying to accelerate you. On the other hand, like any moving object,
you're facing air resistance, which is kind of a drag. No really, this drag is increasing
the faster you fall. At a certain point (usually within the first third of a mile, or roughly
1,800 feet (550 m)), these two forces become equal and acceleration ceases. It's called
terminal velocity -- you're falling at a constant speed of about 120 miles per hour
(190 kph), give or take depending on your weight, height, and the density of the air
around you.
And guess what? If you were falling from a skyscraper, you'd land with the same force
as when you fall from a 6-mile height. But you'd only have 12 seconds to prepare for
contact, versus having approximately 3 minutes when falling from a plane. It doesn't sound
like much, but it makes a world of a difference when it comes to your chances of survival!
Ok, your brain is now getting enough oxygen, and you wake up from your mid-fall nap. Welcome
back! So, there are 2 scenarios when you're falling from a plane with no parachute. The
first is when you're free-falling with just yourself and the clothes on your back. The
second way is to try and become a “wreckage rider.” This is what Jim Hamilton calls
the lucky ones who've managed to grab some wreckage of the plane and basically surf down
to the ground on it. If you can do this, you'll double (or even triple) your chances of survival.
And that's been proven by statistics: since the 1940s, there've been 31 wreckage riders
who survived and only 13 of those who had to totally free-fall empty-handed.
In 1972, Serbian flight attendant Vesna Vulović incidentally broke a world record for surviving
the highest fall without a parachute. At 33,000 feet (10,000 m) in the air, the plane she
was on exploded, and she fell that whole distance while being squeezed between her seat and
a food trolley. She landed on a snowy mountain slope and slid down it until she finally came
to a stop. Vulović did receive some serious injuries, but after several months in the
hospital, she managed to recover.
But let's say you don't find any wreckage to ride down on. Stay calm, it's not over
yet! Here's another story to cheer you up. In 1943, American military pilot Alan Magee
survived a 20,000-foot (6,000 m) absolute free-fall that ended with him crashing through
the glass ceiling of the St. Nazaire train station in France. He made it out alive and
lived to the age of 82!
Ok, now that you can breathe normally and have 2 minutes before you land, you can enjoy
the view! And, you can move your body too. Sure, without a wingsuit, you won't be able
to gracefully glide down like a flying squirrel, but you can use your legs and arms to steer
yourself toward a safer surface, which is…
Not water! When you're falling at 120 mph (190 kph) from 6 miles (10 km) high, water
will feel like concrete. It's good only if the body of water is deep enough and you manage
to protect your head from the impact. But if you've got no choice and there's nothing
but water below, try to dive. Some say it's best to go feet-first with your legs straight
and pulled tightly together (that's key!). Others swear you need to dive head-first with
your arms stretched above you and your fingers laced together – this will protect your
head from the impact. Whatever you choose (or end up having to settle for), vertical
is best when it comes to deep water landings.
Ok, if water isn't the best option (or one at all), then what? Look for something that
can soften the blow – a snow bank or slope, a haystack, a big tree. Marshland is ideal
since it's soft and swampy. Just watch out for the gators afterward. If there's a town
or village below, look for something big and flat – say, a truck or camper. A tile or
glassy roof is much better than a concrete one. Remember Alan Magee's glass-roof landing!
Now that you've chosen your target, you need to try and direct your fall. To slow
down, spread your arms and legs apart (think flying squirrel!), throw your head back, and
straighten your shoulders. The goal is to make your body take up as much space as possible
because it'll create more resistance so that you can maneuver your body and direction
more easily.
To steer right, lower your right shoulder and look to the right. The same goes for banking
left to go left. If you need to go forward, you'll straighten your legs and arms while
sweeping them back along your sides. To make your body move backward, straighten your arms
out in front of you, and bend your knees. These are familiar movements to those of us
who've tried skydiving before. Yeah, it's fun.
Buuut you're not skydiving in this scenario. Just remember that no matter what the surface
below is, you need to avoid landing on your head. Brain injuries are no joke, and it'll
immediately set your chances of survival to zero. If you're falling with your head down
and can do nothing about it, try to land on your face. I know, it sounds counter-intuitive,
but it's better than hitting the top or back of your skull.
Now, right before landing, you have two more choices depending on who you ask. You can
either maintain that spread-eagle pose or pull your legs together and keep your knees
and hips tight. You better decide fast – your 3 minutes are up!
Boom! Congratulations, lucky you -- you're alive! You look like a pancake but you're
breathing. You survived-- What are you gonna do now? I'm going to WallyWorld! No really,
if you've landed in the jungle, I've got one more story of survival that should be
of use to you…
It was Christmas Eve in 1971, and 17-year-old Juliane Koepcke was flying from Lima to Pucallpa,
Peru right after celebrating her high school graduation. When her plane came up on some
severe weather and was struck by lightning, the whole thing exploded right above the Amazon
Rainforest. After falling over 10,000 feet (3,000 m), Koepcke, still strapped into her
seat, hit the ground and passed out.
When she came to the next morning, she found herself all alone in the jungle. She was pretty
beaten up, but she could walk, and that's exactly what she did. So, how on Earth could
this teen survive 11 days stranded in the middle of the Amazon? Well, maybe she was
lucky in that she had a unique set of skills for a girl her age. Juliane's parents were
both scientists: her father was a biologist, and her mom - an ornithologist. They used
to take their daughter with them to a research station deep in the jungle. So, she knew about
all the possible dangers and how to avoid them.
She walked very slowly, feeling the ground with a stick so that a venomous snake wouldn't
surprise her. She had no fire or warm clothes, drank rainwater, and had only some candies
for food. She was too weak to try to catch fish or hunt, but she just kept walking along
the river. Her dad always taught her: when you're lost, follow the river downstream
to civilization. (Keep that in mind if you ever find yourself in a similar situation!)
On the 10th day, she came across a small hut. Already exhausted, she decided to rest there
for the night. In the morning, some fishermen found her in their shelter and took Juliane
to the nearest village, where she was taken by helicopter to Pucallpa. The girl survived
not only because she was lucky but also brave and smart: she left the place of the accident
and kept going!
Anyway, I hope you won't ever have to put these tips to the test. But, hey, if the topic
ever comes up in conversation, now you know how to survive a 35,000-foot (10,000 m) free-fall!
Me, well years ago when I used to skydive and was traveling somewhere on an airline,
I would always bring my parachute in the cabin with me. It was fun to provoke some wide-eyed
looks from the other passengers. I'd simply say: I guess you haven't flown this airline
recently, have you? and walk right on past. True story.
Do you know any other tips on what to do in an extreme situation? Please share them down
in the comments! And if you learned something new today, then give this video a like and
share it with a friend. But – hey! – don't bail out just yet!
We have over 2,000 cool videos for you to check out. All you have to do is pick the
left or right video, click on it, and enjoy! Stay on the Bright Side of life!
コツ:単語をクリックしてすぐ意味を調べられます!

読み込み中…

The Only Way to Survive a Free Fall from Plane

108 タグ追加 保存
jung 2019 年 10 月 14 日 に公開
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