Channel 4 to crash 300-seat jet into desert

Two pilots will parachute from a passenger jet before it crash-lands at high speed in an empty desert as part of a scientific experiment to be screened on television next year.

Viewers will be able to watch as the pilots board the plane before setting it on a collision course for the Channel 4 documentary.

Plane Crash is expected to give scientists invaluable information about how aircraft react in potentially fatal accidents.

The 300-seat wide-bodied passenger jet will be loaded with cameras and sensors, along with crash test dummies taking the place of passengers and crew.

The landing site will be filmed from every angle.

Broadcasters expect the footage and data will give scientists an "unprecedented insight" into what happens when a plane crashes, enabling experts to study how areas such as seatbelt design, seat arrangement and overhead baggage can have an impact on passenger safety.

Producer Geoff Deehan, at Dragonfly Film and Television Productions Ltd, said: "As well as making spectacular television, we hope Plane Crash will be one of the most useful experiments ever in the history of aviation, an experiment devised, run and supervised by some of the world's leading aviation experts - experts who are consulted by all the world's leading aircraft manufacturers on aircraft safety, crashworthiness and survivability.

"It will give us unprecedented answers to the big question: how can we make air crashes more survivable?"

Prof R John Hansman, one of the scientists involved in the experiment, said the crash would give experts a "rare" opportunity to examine a crash test on a "full-scale aircraft".

"Much of our understanding of aircraft impact phenomena comes from accident investigations where we only have limited data," he said.

"It is rare to be able to instrument an aircraft to be able to document what is going on inside and outside of the aircraft during a crash event.

"This will provide valuable data to calibrate models of crash dynamics, forces on the passengers, and post-crash fire. We often crash-test automobiles but we rarely are able to conduct crash tests on full-scale aircraft."

The T. Wilson Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics added: "This will be a remarkable opportunity to increase passenger survivability."

The documentary has been announced as part of the new season on Channel 4.



Programme makers are keeping the location of the crash under wraps but say they have overcome the "known obstacles" and are ready to press ahead with the purchase of the passenger jet.

The aircraft, a secondhand plane, will crash-land in such a way that it will not be completely destroyed, simulating the most common type of serious - and survivable - incident.

The identities of the two pilots have yet to be announced but they are understood to have backgrounds with the US navy.

The documentary is among a number of new programmes planned for the 2010 season, which will begin with the UK television premiere of the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.

This will be followed with a special one-off episode from The Secret Millionaire series - The Slumdog Secret Millionaire - in which a female British-Indian entrepreneur will leave her affluent lifestyle behind to go incognito in India.

The programme will feature in the channel's India Season, along with a special edition of Dispatches and Gordon's Great Escape, showing chef Gordon Ramsay's first trip to India.

Other highlights for the new season include Blitz Street - a science and history series presented by Tony Robinson which will show a typical row of 1940s terrace houses being subjected to a range of high explosives similar to those used by the Luftwaffe.

Chef Heston Blumenthal will return to the small screen with his second series of Heston's Feasts, along with the final series of Celebrity Big Brother.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
people
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Arts and Entertainment
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
film
Life and Style
tech
News
people
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

Ashdown Group: Analyst Programmer (Filemaker Pro/ SQL) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days, pension, private medical : Ashdown Group: A highly...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'