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Terror at 20,000 Feet! How to Survive a Fall from an Airplane without a Parachute

Updated on January 7, 2014

It may come as no surprise to the reader that there are people who are greatly agitated by the thought of falling out of an airplane without a parachute.

Indeed, I would be so bold as to assert that these persons would, on the whole, prefer not to fall out an airplane at all, either with or without a parachute; but definitely, given the choice, would choose the former over the latter.

I myself fall (excuse the pun) into this group.

"If I have to fall out of an airplane," I say to myself, "well I would rather I did it with a parachute than without one, seeing as the parachute may have some small part in making the plunge to the ground somewhat less hazardous to my health, than a fall without one."

However, life being what it is, we sometimes find ourselves deficient in choices as, for example, falling out of airplanes.

But secondly, to be flung to the winds in such a circumstance, without  the aid of a descent-retarding-device,is a double-whammy,in the department of Cruel Fate, and one which, if it were to occur,might make one become, shall we say, very distressed?

So, in order to give some kind of advice and reassurance on this topic, I have given an enormous amount of brain up-time to the question, in the hope of providing a modicum of helpful guidance, should this eventuality ever materialize in your life.

Step One

Don't panic.

Yes, you have just discovered you are on a down-ward spiral, from, say 50,000 feet above the Terra Firma, and further that you have no visible means of support to make your anti-ascent less of a one-way trip.

Again I say, don't panic.

This can only make things worse.

Step Two

Take stock of your situation.

Are you sure there is no parachute on your back? Check and see. Feel your posterior portions and discover whether or not you have a bulge, like an over-stuffed pillow attached to your back.


Well now you know your true situation. That is a plus. And you, at this point, need all the plus-es you can get.

Now turn your attention to the nether-regions that lie beneath your feet. (This is assuming, of course that you are falling feet-first.)

What is beneath you? Take a casual accounting of the overall landscape. Is it: forest, jungle, a large body of water, (thank you God) a suburban neighboorhood, a freeway at rush hour, or perhaps a soybean farm ?

Take note of any areas that are softer than others.

Step Three

Having finished Step Two, you should by now be able to make a decision as to where you would, all things being equal, prefer to land. Your goal is now clear--to maneuver yourself into position to strike your chosen target.

Swimming towards it, using, a breast-stroke motion, or flapping your arms--both are equally effective.

With a little help from the jet-stream you just might make it.

Step Four

Landing is something that will vary depending on the surface that greets you on impact.

Try to stay positive.

Nothing great was ever accomplished by nay-sayers.

The trick is to bounce.

Think "bounce". Imagine a rubber ball. BE the rubber ball. Be one with the bounce.  This is your best bet.

You just might survive your fall, from an airplane, without a parachute.

Now, don't you feel better?


Submit a Comment

  • Woody Marx profile image

    Woody Marx 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    O brilliant idea! I think there is some money to be made in selling such a vid to the airlines! You have my permission to use my piece! :)

  • cam8510 profile image

    Chris Mills 5 years ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

    Should stewardesses be showing us how this is done. You know, like they do the oxygen masks? We could watch them on the movie screen.

  • Mercredi profile image

    Mercredi 7 years ago

    This hub should be printed off and handed out to passengers before airliners take off. It is more important than the chart on how to use an oxygen mask.

  • neeleshkulkarni profile image

    neeleshkulkarni 7 years ago from new delhi

    why did you not bring this to my attention before the last time i made an unassisted descent from 50000 feet?Had i known not panicking was important i could have been less tense and my blood pressure would not have soared. one has to mind opnes health first and foremost no?????

  • ltfawkes profile image

    ltfawkes 7 years ago from NE Ohio

    Step One

    Don't panic.

    If I ever find myself in this situation, and who knows? It could happen. I feel pretty safe in saying that I'd find myself working hard on Step One most, if not all, of the way down.

    Nice hub.


  • Shinkicker profile image

    Shinkicker 7 years ago from Scotland

    A man falls to earth and both his parachute and reserve don't work.

    As he plummets he sees a man coming towards him from the ground below

    "Excuse me" he said "Do you know anything about parachutes"

    "No" replies the guy "Do you anything about gas ovens"

    Great Hub Woody. lots of impractical advice for an unlikely situation :-)

  • Woody Marx profile image

    Woody Marx 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Love: thanks! Your pic looks like you might be falling right now! ;)

  • loveofnight profile image

    loveofnight 7 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

    an interesting hub and a good read.....thx

  • Woody Marx profile image

    Woody Marx 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Feline: Glad I was able to reassure you about all the other nasty things that might happen to you by my 'worst case scenario'. We all need a little reassurance now and again...not unlike taking a little cod liver oil once in awhile.

    Thanks for your comments!

  • profile image

    Feline Prophet 7 years ago

    How reassuring is that? I feel much better about anything life may throw at me...or throw me out! :)

    By the way, I love the terms 'descent retarding device' and 'anti-ascent'!!