1. DON'T PANIC.. If you fall from a low enough height, and haven't died of cold or depressurization, now is the time to start thinking about strategies. You may be able to survive.

  2. Check your altitude. This is actually a trick question. If you are wearing an altimeter, then chances are you don't need to read this. Check your back for a parachute. If there is a parachute, your prognosis is good. Please see skydiving.
  3. Survey landing locations.No parachute, eh? Bummer. Okay, now look down and take a good look at the ground. This may be frightening -- DON'T PANIC. If there are any bodies of water below, you want to steer clear of them. Water is the worst thing to hit. Look especially for hills -- the best way to land is by rolling down a hill. Large inflated crash mats are great, too, but chances are you won't find any handy.
  4. Steering. This should be pretty intuitive. Use air resistance to maneuver yourself over your chosen landing location. If you need help, see skydiving. You should be able to cover considerable ground in the air.
  5. Preparing to land. Okay, the big moment is coming up. This may sound weird, but the best thing to do is to RELAX. Most survivors of this kind of fall are blissfully ignorant children, who haven't got the same muscle tension adults do. Prepare to go completely limp when you hit the ground. Assuming you found a hill, prepare to roll. Devise a landing posture and angle such that no major leg bones will be driven up into your torso.
  6. Landing. It's going to hurt. I'm not going to kid you. You'll need an ambulance pretty soon after you land. But after a few weeks in intensive care, just think of the story you will be able to tell. And if you focus on positives like this, you are more likely to live to thank yourself. Good luck.
Let's say your jet blows apart at 35,000 feet. If the explosion doesn't kill you, flying debris might. If you don't get hit by bits of aircraft, the windblast will likely break your neck as you enter the air stream unprotected. Or, of course, you might just get your limbs broken due to differential deceleration of your extremities relative to your torso. Not to mention the lack of oxygen, extreme cold, and the quite likely possibility that you'll end up in a fatal 400 rpm spin.

Should you survive the exit of the aircraft, it's easy going! Just free fall while you're unconscious (not enough oxygen, remember?) to about 15,000, then take action. See if you can find anything useful amongst the wreckage, parachutes, for example! Failing that, try to mount something that will reduce your acceleration. Perhaps a large piece of wing is nearby?

At some you'll reach terminal velocity, which is about 120mph for a 170lb person. Remember those cartoons where the Looney Tunes would stand on top of a train as it went through a low clearance tunnel? Remember how they flattened themselves on the wall and kind of slid down? Those are the kind of forces you're battling against. When you hit dirt, you'll be going so fast you'll bounce. Your body will be found a not inconsiderable distance from the dent you make on impact. Don't dwell on it.

Select a soft landing site. Ideally a conifer forest...on a mountainside...covered in deep snow. Elongate your body and hit the tree limbs at a flat angle — this will slow you considerably. If there are no trees, look for a deep snow drift. Or anything soft. Be careful, though, because if you get buried too deep you run the risk of suffocating before rescue crews arrive. And don't count on digging yourself out; you'll be lucky if you can walk.

If fate fails to provide either decent conifers or adequate snow, you'll have to wing it. Try the parachutist's five-point landing: Feet, sideways on to calf, thigh, ass, shoulder. If you get that right, each point is meant to absorb one-fifth of the impact. At 24 mph a piece, that's bruising and possible breakages but nothing more.

Don't give up, it's been done.

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