Safer to sit in the back of the plane: Crash test

September 17th, 2012 - 11:17 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 16 (IANS) A passenger jet deliberately smashed into the ground has led experts to believe that passengers sitting at the back would have the best chance of survival, and all first-class travellers would die as the fuselage shears off.

In an extraordinary aviation experiment, a 170-seat Boeing 727 was brought down in a controlled crash in a remote part of Mexico’s Sonoran desert, the Daily Mail reported.

Experts tried to recreate what happens to an aircraft - and all those on board - in an air disaster.

Pilot James Slocum, 55, parachuted out of the plane at 2,500 feet, and the jet was guided into the ground by a pilot in a following Cessna plane via a remote-controlled device.

The one-million-pound project - to be screened on Channel 4 - aimed to recreate a serious but survivable accident, and allow scientists to study the crashworthiness of the aircraft’s frame and cabin, as well as the impact on the human body.

The plane was packed with dozens of cameras to record the impact from inside. Footage was also collected on the ground, in chase planes, and even from the ejecting pilot’s helmet.

Experts predicted that 78 percent of passengers on board would have survived the impact. But when coming down nose-first, all first-class travellers would have died. Those sitting at the back would have had the best chance of survival.

This was only the second time that a jet has been crash-tested this way. The first was when a Boeing 720 crashed by NASA in 1984 ended up as a fireball.

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