On Lost


A Review of Survivability of Passengers in the Plane Crash, First Episode of the Television Series Lost
By Clayton Davis

In the opening scene the hero is in pain lying flat on his back. Regaining consciousness, he is aware of the burning sun. In terrible pain he hears screams and sees a bamboo forest. He is overwhelmed with the realization the plane has been torn into large pieces in midair, and it has crashed on a Pacific island. He is a doctor and people need his help.

I am a professional aviator with Flight Instructor and Airline Transport Ratings with forty years experience in everything from gliders to jets. I find the crash premise totally bereft of logic. First, they hit an air pocket, and just before the disaster the scene shows oxygen masks dropping down for passenger use. They probably flew near or into the Jet Stream and encountered Clear Air Turbulence.

Conversation amongst the survivors indicates they were flying at 40,000 feet. If a plane hit turbulence at that altitude it would not be ripped into large chunks of falling parts. Moreover, should that have happened, the chunks would have splattered like rotten eggs when they hit the ground.

If the fuselage cabin had been splintered and ripped open there would not have been any living souls on board before the unplanned descent started. There is not enough oxygen sufficient for human life at that altitude. The temperature at 40,000 feet is minus seventy degrees Fahrenheit. Everyone would have been frozen solid.

Clear Air Turbulence at high altitudes is usually the result of disrupted air around the Jet Stream. This river of  …

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