This article was written by Bernadeta Kairytė, a Digital Marketing Manager at AviationCV. The opinions expressed in this article are solely theirs.
Throughout the history of aviation, safety has been a main priority. Coupled with the comfort of the passengers, lower ticket prices and faster journeys prove that we have come far since the first commercial flights.
And safety stats coincide – Aviation Safety Network declared 2017 to be the safest year in aviation. Commercial passenger aviation recorded no fatalities in 2017. While 2018 was worse than the 5 year average, it was still one of the safest years on record.
Yet freak accidents like the Lion Air Crash or Cubana de Aviación Flight 972 happen, causing industry professionals and engineers to search for a solution on how to prevent fatalities from happening. This is where an invention by Vladimir Tatarenko comes in.
Aircraft With A Capsule
Recently, a video surfaced on LinkedIn showcasing an attempt to provide a solution to the problem of aviation fatalities: a capsule that is attached to an airframe with engines. The video quickly gained traction on the social media network.
How does the capsule work? In case of an emergency, the frame releases the capsule with the passengers, and the capsule lands safely. Parachutes help the capsule have a soft landing. After landing, the passengers can safely exit the capsule or wait for rescue.
But with the obvious upsides, people are questioning the invention. Does it sound too good to be true?
First of all, let us start with the cost. Vladimir Tatarenko has estimated an average increase in the price of an airplane tocket of 15%. Saving an airframe and saving hundreds of lives may justify this increase. But in the aviation business, which is already cut-throat, as shown by airline bankruptcies caused by rising costs and dropping ticket prices, a question stands: Are manufacturers and airlines prepared to invest in a completely new design and risk losing passengers because of the rising ticket prices?
Second, many experts in the aviation industry have raised the question about the control of the capsule. As it detaches, how do you prevent it from going into an uncontrollable spin? The capsule itself has no wings or controls, which means that it can hit trees, mountains or even buildings while landing. The lives of people on the ground and in the capsule can become endangered.
Third, the design of the aircraft would have to change completely. There would need to be a totally new fuselage, which can hold the capsule and be able to detach it in an accident. It took a lot of time to develop the current frame to ensure maximum safety, and will the structural integrity remain in the capsule as well?
And, last but not least, does the crew have any time to board the capsule and save themselves?
Given these points, we have to question ourselves – is aviation currently too unsafe that we have to fall back to such radical solutions like the capsule? And while it might look good on paper, is the capsule really an answer to all woes of air travel safety?
In my opinion, a simple “No” answers both questions. Sure, disasters still happen, but they are not frequent or deadly enough to justify completely redesigning an aircraft and massively increasing the cost of air travel.
All images from BoredPanda