If you fall from a plane do you die before you hit the ground?
If the plane was high enough, it is conceivable that you could either freeze to death, or asphyxiate in the thin atmosphere.
However, from the cruising altitude of a normal commercial aircraft (around 10km), and for the terminal velocity of a human (~55m/s**), it would only take around 3 minutes to hit the ground.
You’d therefore probably be fine on the oxygen front - the “Death Zone” - where oxygen is too scarce to breath starts - at around 8km, so you’d actually only need to fall about 2km (takes about 30 seconds at terminal velocity) before the air was breathable.
Obviously if you were in something like a U2 spyplane (20km), or Felix Baumgartner’s jump (40km), then oxygen will definitely become a problem - but for your average plane - Oxygen doesn’t matter.
What about temperature?
According to this, scientists (or at least, a scientist) approximated that the human body could survive the coldest temperature recorded in Antartica “for about 3 minutes”. That was for a temperature of -93 degrees Celsius (-140 Fahrenheit).
According to this answer here:, the temperature at the cruising altitude of jet liners is around -50 degrees celsius.
Therefore, our hypothetical person will easily be able to survive the cold on their descent - remember, they warm up as they fall - so even if it had started at -100 Celsius, they’d probably still survive, as they fell into warmer air.
So our person has enough Oxygen, and they don’t freeze to death.
Therefore, in the absence of anything to kill them, it seems very likely that the ground rushing toward them at 200km/h (130 mph) is going to be the cause of death!
As to when you actually die - it depends on what angle you hit the ground. If you hit head first, then you only need to fall about 10cm to crush your brain into eeny weeny pieces - which will take
Therefore, I conclude that you die somewhere between 0.002 and 0.03 seconds after impacting the ground, unless you are falling from a plane which is at a much higher altitude than your average commercial jet.
**Obviously, I haven’t factored in acceleration time here, for simplicity - however, I also only used the terminal velocity value at sea level - the terminal velocity is higher at high altitudes. To a first approximation, these effects cancel each other out.
This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.
Do you think anyone is able to survive a plane crush?
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