Can You Bring a Parachute on a Plane?
Whether you’re a skydiving enthusiast or you’re terrified of flying and having a parachute would make you feel safer on a plane, you’ve probably wondered if you can take one on a passenger plane.
Passengers are allowed to pack parachutes in either their checked or carry-on bag, regardless of whether or not they have an Automatic Activation Device. They must be packed separately from other luggage and are subject to inspections.
TSA Rules for Parachutes in Baggage
All passengers are allowed to take parachutes on planes, but there are some special requirements each person must meet for a parachute to be allowed through security.
Each parachute must be packed separately from any other baggage. TSA officers may decide that the parachute must be inspected at the time of screening.
If this happens, the passenger must be present for the additional inspection to assist the officer. If you are not present to assist, the parachute will not be allowed onto the plane.
It is encouraged for passengers to arrive at least thirty minutes earlier than the airline’s suggested arrival window because of this additional inspection.
TSA officers are not responsible for repacking parachutes and are not liable for keeping them in safe, working conditions.
You may be subject to additional inspections during your travel route and may need to pack and unpack the parachute multiple times.
Parachutes are acceptable whether or not they include an Automatic Activation Device.
It’s also important to remember that all parachutes must meet the carry-on sizes and standards of the airline you intend to fly with.
If they can not meet the requirements, the airline will turn them away.
Can You Jump Out Of a Crashing Plane With a Parachute?
It’s highly unlikely that a parachute can save you during a plane crash.
It’s even more unlikely that you would have time to put on a parachute, prepare to jump, and get a safe window to exit the aircraft.
Jumping out of a plane requires preparation and training.
A crashing plane isn’t going to slow down enough to allow passengers to safely exit the plane without tangling up their equipment, especially without training.
The stability required for a safe jump is also not going to happen if a plane is crashing, stalling out, or experiencing rough turbulence.
You’re more likely to get tossed out of the plane or into the walls of the plane than to exit safely.
It’s also important to keep in mind when most passenger plane crashes occur.
Ninety-eight percent of incidents happen during takeoff or landing, when there is no time to prepare to jump nor are you high enough above the ground to safely use the parachute.
While survival chances may be low during a plane crash, you have much better chances of surviving by staying on a passenger plane and riding out the crash than you do attempting an emergency jump.
How Much Does It Cost To Put a Parachute on a Plane?
One reason passenger planes don’t include parachutes for all passengers is the immense cost of installing an emergency parachute system.
Single parachutes can range from well over $10,000 to install on single-passenger planes to hundred of thousands of dollars on modern aircraft.
Buying a working parachute with a container, backup parachutes, and all the equipment you’ll need will cost at least $10,000.
Installing parachutes and safety systems on passenger planes would cost airlines millions of dollars and significantly weigh down the plane.
This is the main reason airlines don’t provide passengers with parachutes in case of a crash.
A new parachute alone will cost between $2200-$2500, while a used one can cost between $900-$1900.
This doesn’t include the container you’ll need to pack it in, backup parachutes, or any other equipment.
Skydiving is an activity that can never be done with 100% safety. Around 1 in 100,000 jumps by fully trained professionals result in death.
The statistics seem safe, but this is entirely because of the extensive safety precautions in place and regulations surrounding the activity.
To skydive or even bring parachutes with you, they must meet safety requirements and be inspected regularly.
You are always the one responsible for and liable for packing your parachute.
Can You Survive a Parachute Not Opening?
Parachute failures aren’t uncommon, but skydiving deaths are incredibly rare.
This is mostly thanks to the huge number of safety contingencies and features modern parachutes include.
If your parachute completely fails, you (generally) can not survive falls from anything over 50 feet.
There are some exceptions, but this is usually down to luck. It also doesn’t matter if you’re falling over water or land.
If a parachute fails, you’re likely to fall hundreds of feet and fall incredibly fast. There isn’t really anything you can do in the event of a complete failure.
Partial failures are more common and can be survived, but this depends again on luck.
If your chute is partially open, it could slow you down enough to lessen the impact on your body and allow you to survive.
Tangling lines are fairly common and spreader bars are installed on modern parachutes to help untangle lines.
If the main parachute fails, you’ll need to either cut away the main parachute or disconnect it before pulling a cord to use your backup parachute.
The best-case scenario for a parachute failure is that your backup parachute works or you’re able to untangle lines on your main parachute.
So is it possible to survive a parachute not opening? Technically yes, as there are some rare examples of people landing and surviving.
Is it likely though? Absolutely not, the odds are ridiculously stacked towards not surviving.
It’s not a problem to bring a parachute onto the plane with you as either a carry-on bag or in checked luggage.
All parachutes are subject to inspection where you may be asked to unpack them and are responsible for repacking the parachute.
If you do plan on flying with a parachute, plan to get to the airport at least thirty minutes earlier than the airline’s suggested arrival window.
This gives you plenty of time to comply with additional inspections before your flight.