Aircraft are safer now than ever before and it is rare to experience an emergency evacuation. If you are do experience an emergency it is likely you will need to leave the aircraft via the evacuation slides which deploy automatically when the doors are opened.

All passengers must be able to leave the cabin in less than 90 seconds with half of the exits blocked, which is a mandatory part of gaining certification to fly. How do the slides work though?

Doors to Automatic and Cross Check

You have probably heard this phrase over the PA system as your flight leaves the gate. This is the call to instruct your cabin crew to put the doors into automatic mode.

This means that when the doors are opened, the slides will deploy. Putting the doors back to manual means the slides will no longer deploy automatically which is how they can open the doors to let you out without the slides appearing.

Evacuation Slide Video

British Airways have put together a short video showing how the evacuation slides work. The aircraft featured is one of the Boeing 777-200 fleet at London Gatwick which has eight very large slides.

These slides double as rafts in the event of an aircraft landing on water, a quaint phrase that no-one took seriously until US Airways landed on the Hudson River in New York after a bird strike. Yes, you can land on water and survive it seems!

What I like about the video is that it shows just how fast one of these slides can deploy. Who knew it would take only 6 seconds for such a large thing to deploy? It is news to me.

Maintenance crews also check the slide bottle pressure almost daily which is nothing if not reassuring. You are virtually guaranteed working slides in an emergency situation.

Overall Thoughts

Want to know a secret? I have always wanted to try out an evacuation slide, preferably in a non emergency situation of course! It would be one of those interesting things to do. Clearly it is somewhat dangerous but I’d love to give it a go.

What did you think of the video? Reassuring or scary? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image via British Airways.