STORY HIGHLIGHTS


Escape capsule for civil aircraft

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Added On April 7, 2016

INTRO
 
Surviving a plane crash could be possible thanks to a new invention by Ukrainian aviation engineer Vladimir Tatarenko.
 
As one of the founding fathers of the world's largest airplane, An-225 Mriya cargo aircraft, Tatarenko has devoted much of his life to inventing an escape capsule that can save lives during aviation accidents.
 
Lifestyles explains.
 
PKG
 
After five-decade of research, Ukrainian aviation engineer Vladimir Tatarenko has received a patent on the invention of the escape capsule system.
 
It is designed to rescue passengers of the civil aircraft in case of in-flight emergency.
 
SOUNDBITE: VLADIMIR TATARENKO, Ukrainian aviation engineer
"The idea of an ejecting capsule in the commercial aircrafts is not new. However, 5 to 10 years ago, the research community was unable to bring it to life, because engineers could not find a material that will have a minimum weight. Now we have carbon-fiber -- a very strong, lightweight and cheap material, which is proved to be suitable for the invention." 
 
On the conceptual design of his invention, Tatarenko said the capsule, with seats for passengers, is installed inside the aircraft's fuselage.
 
It could escape through the rear hatch of the aircraft within two to three seconds after a mid-air collision by pushing an emergency escape button.
 
After ejection, a high-altitude capsule, powered by two gunpowder engines designed to slow down its speed, will be parachuting to the ground.
 
Meanwhile, air-pillows are installed at the bottom of the ejecting container.
 
They could ensure a soft landing of the aerial vehicle.
 
According to the aviation expert, this capsule can protect passengers from almost all emergencies, including engine failure, fire in cabin, and technical problems triggered by bad weather.
 
However, it could not save lives if the plane has a mid-air explosion or comes under a rocket attack which could instantly tear the plane apart.
 
SOUNDBITE: VLADIMIR TATARENKO, Ukrainian aviation engineer
"It provides a 100-percent protection, except for the protection from the blast. There is no protection from an explosion or a rocket attack.”
 
The new capsule has aroused wide public attention, with local experts suggesting that it could become a breakthrough in aviation safety once it rolls off the production line.
 
However, Tatarenko doubted that the mass production of the escape capsule will come soon, as the standardization of the system and operational tests would take years and require huge investment.
 
He said, first, the system should undergo a number of tests in different environment, such as desert, snow covered ground and water. 
 
Such tests will take at least two years and will be quite costly.
 
SOUNDBITE: VLADIMIR TATARENKO, Ukrainian aviation engineer
"The total cost of the project, which covers modernization, testing, development, obtaining ICAO certificate would be about 1 million U.S. dollars."
 
Ukrainian aircraft producers have so far shown little interest in the invention as it would have to reduce seats in the cabin and increase fuel consumption.
 
Tatarenko also admitted that it would be very difficult to adapt the capsule into the existing popular commercial planes.
 
However, the inventor believed that his project has a chance to be put into use if plane producers create a new type of plane with built-in escape capsule. 
 
He said he had already developed a design of such a plane.