Thursday, March 04, 2004

A broken plane for your safety

Patent approved for a breakable airplane.
"The proposal, which received a patent last month, calls for aircraft to be built in separate parts, then sealed together. In an emergency -- anything from mechanical failure to a missile attack -- the pilot could push a button to sever the parts with controlled explosions or by using a 'laser cutting' device.
"Each section would be equipped with parachutes, shock absorbers, inflatable rafts, and propulsion jets that would guide it to the ground, the patent said."
Of course, there's always a skeptic (or a few hundred):
"James DeLaurier, who teaches aircraft design at the University of Toronto, said his initial reaction to reading the patent was 'holy cow.'
"'This would be a maintenance nightmare,' he said. 'How could you make sure that all these systems are ready to go? The consequences of them not working, or working prematurely, would be dreadful.'"

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