« This Day In History: Aug. 15 | Main | This Day In History: Aug. 16 »

Evacuating an Airplane

I recently stumbled upon this amazing video, which shows an evacuation test that Airbus conducted for its new A380 aircraft on Mar. 26, 2006. The test took place at Airbus in Hamburg, Germany.

The test, which Airbus described in a press release as "the most stringent ever performed and the first ever on a passenger aircraft with two decks," simulated certain conditions, including the following:

  • performed in complete darkness, aided only by emergency lighting
  • half of the exits blocked, though neither crew nor test passengers know beforehand which ones
  • test passengers reflect demographics of actual travelers (e.g., at least 40% female, at least 35% over 50)

To pass, all passengers and crew—whatever the plane's maximum capacity—must be able to evacuate within 90 seconds. In this drill, all 853 "passengers" and 20 crew members got off the A380 within 78 seconds. The European Aviation and Safety Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration approved the results of the trial a few days later.

For more on airplane evacuation trials, check out this article from Slate. The article discusses the Airbus test as well as the safety of such tests in general. For example, the writer notes, "Friction causes the majority of evacuation injuries. ... Dismounting can also be treacherous. ... If you don't plant both feet when you get to the bottom of the slide--or if you plant your feet too hard--you can easily sprain or fracture your ankle or break your leg."

Links:
"How Did Airbus Ace Its Airplane Evacuation Test?" (Slate)
"A380 Successfully Completes Evacuation Test" (Airbus press release)

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.worldalmanac.com/wablogadmin/mt-tb.cgi/552

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

About

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 15, 2007 10:28 AM.

The previous post in this blog was This Day In History: Aug. 15.

The next post in this blog is This Day In History: Aug. 16.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.