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
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, parachute
s, 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
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 breakage
s but nothing more.
Don't give up, it's been done.