FAA Cabin Safety Expert Shows News 9 How To Survive An Airplane Crash

Sunday, February 7th 2016, 10:57 pm
By: News 9

In Oklahoma, we're accustomed to tornadoes and fire drills. But right here in the metro, safety experts are preparing the world for a different emergency -- an airplane crash.

Consider it constructed chaos. Our plane just crash-landed in the middle of a severe storm, and the cabin is on fire -- a situation all coordinated for your safety.

"We know airplanes don't crash very often, but we know 97 percent of the people survive," said Cynthia McLean, FAA Cabin Safety Research.

If these lights and smoke are comparable to a rock concert, consider Cynthia McLean the rock star.

"We think about safety in our homes. We think about safety in our cars. But we tend to not think about safety when we get on an airplane," said McLean.

McLean and her team do think about safety at the only FAA cabin safety research facility in the nation. It’s almost like one giant Lego piece, and you can manipulate it however you want.

The outside of the simulator also moves, lifting and tilting to run participants through crash drills. Long before it hits the eyes of passengers, this is where tests are run on any proposed change to the way we fly. That includes changes to seats, overhead bins and even those seemingly monotonous flight attendant procedures.

“You may think you know it. You may think you can recite it. But the plane you're on today may not be the exact same plane as yesterday," said McLean.

So to give you the best chances of getting out alive, the FAA recommends before boarding: Wear shoes with laces, long pants and long sleeves or bring a jacket. Also bring a hat to protect your head.

Back inside the cabin, McLean said, "The recommended brace position is now, bend over, put your head on your seat, put hands under knees or hold onto your ankles."

Next step, evacuate as fast as possible by holding the arm rests, which makes you stable and less likely to get knocked down.

"It makes you stable and less likely to knock you down," McLean said. 

If it's dark. Count the lights to the nearest exit. Once you get to the exit, McLean said, "Pull off and throw (the cover), pull the handle down, and follow the instructions on the exit to open it, as procedures differ, depending on the exit.”

The final piece of survival -- just be ready.

FAA also notes that in an emergency, you should also be prepared to count the number of seat rows to the nearest exit. Up to 25 percent of the aisle lights could go out in the event of a crash.