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Getting out after a crash
After reading the postings in threads on Hugh Hyde's experience and the Fire Extinguisher issue (and following a sufficient gestation period), I'm left pondering a problem to which I haven't seen a good answer. This matter of getting out of the airplane after a forced landing has me perplexed. In my training in other GA aircraft, an important part of the emergency checklist has always been to unlatch the door(s) when the forced landing is imminent. This is because if the fuselage is twisted in on the touchdown you don't want the doors to be jammed shut, trapping the occupants inside.
Now the Velocity problem: unlatching the doors in flight means that they will probably come open. I'm told that if the doors come open in flight, they will also probably "depart the aircraft" ... hmmm, now that would make for an interesting flight experience.
OK, so it might be an option for the macho pilot of an experimental aircraft to grab his fire axe and begin hacking and slashing their way out of the burning wreck (assuming he/she has not been incapacitated)... while the co-pilot debates whether it's ethical or legal to douse the inferno with the on-board halon extinguisher. But I don't think it is realistic, or even desirable, to expect the passengers (some of whom are likely to be small children) to do this.
Nobody expects to ever confront situations like this, but we all know that they happen. The way I see it, if/when I put in enough hours (and I tend to fly a lot, by GA standards), it's a sure thing that it will happen to me sooner or later. The way I justify to myself getting into an aircraft (particularly as PIC) or a car, is that I've done everything in my power to make the experience as safe as possible. So what are our *other* options here?
First of all... is it really true that the doors are going to come open if the pins are retracted? ... and, will the door also "become one with the aircraft slipstream"? If so, can anyone think of a simple and elegant mechanical solution that might allow me to retract the pins without loosing the doors... Maybe an emergency release for the pin mechanism (other than the pick axe)? How about alternate strategies (got me on that one)?
I'd like to see some of your thoughts on the problem.