Ukrainian engineer, Vladimir Tatarenko, has designed a concept that could save lives during plane crashes. The idea entails a cabin that detaches from the cockpit when the flight faces a mid-air disaster. The detachable cabin could be ejected at any time during take-off, mid-flight or landing and allow the passengers to land safely.
The concept shows that in the event of an emergency, the pilots could push a button that would detach the cabin, complete with passengers and cargo, from the rest of the aircraft. The detached cabin would then float harmlessly to the ground with the help of attached parachutes. Massive inflatable rubber bumpers would cushion its landing, and allow it to land on water if the situation requires so.
The concept has received mixed reactions, with some people supporting the idea while others considering it impractical.
Firstly, the cost of building and testing this new aircraft would definitely be huge. Airlines already spend anywhere from $100 million to $350 million to acquire a single aircraft, which acts as a 15-20 year asset for them. In addition, they spend millions of dollars each year, per plane on maintenance.
Therefore, they would have little incentive to replace a trustworthy fleet with an untested concept, especially as plane crash fatalities are exceedingly rare.
According to airline association IATA, in 2014 (a tragic year for air flight), out of the 3.3 billion passengers that traveled, there were a total 641 fatalities.
The argument could be that perhaps the money would be better spent addressing heart disease, which is responsible for over 610,000 deaths yearly in the U.S. alone.
Questions have also been raised over what happens to the rest of the plane, and the fate of the pilots. Well, the pilots could join the passengers in the cabin but the possibility of the rest of the plane crashing almost anywhere seems highly likely.
One commenter says:
“This whole concept dramatically weakens the airframe because now you have joints and fittings to connect a fuselage and a body together where once you had a whole fuselage to reinforce the airframe.”
Also, it is very much possible that the detached cabin does not land – as depicted in the video – on a flat piece of land or calm waters. What if it hits buildings, or mountains?
On the other hand, a questionnaire conducted by the inventor found that 95% of the inquired would be willing to buy a more expensive ticket in order to use such a safety system. I guess the question is, would you?