No Ejection Seats on Commercial Planes WHY?
The ejection seat on fighter planes was developed to help the pilot get away from the aircraft very quickly.
Traditional ways of getting out of an aircraft in an emergency, which were fine for propeller-driven models, were just not fast enough for jets and so the ejection seat came into being.
If this works fine for fighter planes, why don’t they make them for passengers on commercial aircraft too?
The Issue of Safety
Ejection seats need explosives to work and having explosives on board commercial flights would pose a slew of safety risks.
For one thing, the explosives could be set off accidentally and could cause a lot of damage. In case of a fire or emergency landing, chances are the explosives could cause more damage than the fire or the impact.
Even worse is the thought of what would happen if terrorists were to lay hands on these explosives.
In addition, pilots on fighter jets have to undergo extensive training to use the ejection seat correctly.
Training every passenger would be simply impossible and if someone pressed the button by mistake, they could be accidentally ejected out of their seats while on a flight even if the flight was in no danger.
The other problem would be how to synchronize the ejection process. Every seat cannot be ejected at the same time otherwise passengers would be colliding with each other.
This means, for it to work safely, the ejection process will have to be timed so there are no collisions.
The aircraft will also have to be redesigned with openings above every passenger so that would mean that the overhead lockers would have to go.
The aircraft floors would also have to be made stronger so that it can take the shock of the explosives and the ejection.
Considering that every ejection seat is so expensive, imagine the amount it would cost to redesign every aircraft and fit them with these seats.
The weight of each seat which is well over one hundred kilos and the weight of the strengthened floors would mean much more fuel to fly the aircraft.
Would passengers really be willing to pay so much extra for their tickets? Not to mention having to wear helmets and be fitted up with oxygen masks and life jackets all through the flight and not being able to carry any hand baggage on to the aircraft.
Looking at the Statistics
If we were to take a look at the number of air accidents, there are not too many that could have prevented fatalities if there had been ejection seats.
Aircraft have had problems with taking off or emergency landings and very often, there have been no casualties.
Aircraft have emergency exits that help passengers to be evacuated in a few minutes and aircraft crews are trained in this.
Higher airfares would mean that many people would then opt for other means of transport and that would not only increase ground traffic but would also increase the risks of road travel which is much higher that air travel.
Taking all of the factors into considerations, it’s plain to see why equipping commercial aircraft with ejections seats is just not a practical solution.