Plane Crash on Channel 4: I was on a doomed virtual flight. But would I live?

What was really terrifying about Plane Crash wasn't the shot of the 727's nose snapping like balsa wood, it was the fact that this experiment was necessary at all.

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Early on in Plane Crash, the narrator, Rupert Graves, assures viewers that this experiment is to answer questions we all ask ourselves when boarding a flight, like: "Where should I sit that will most increase my chances of survival if we crash?"

The first thing I think when I'm boarding a flight is: "Which seat is furthest from a screaming child?"

What was really terrifying about Plane Crash wasn't the shot of the 727's nose snapping like balsa wood, it was the fact that this experiment was necessary at all.

Most of us are three chapters into a Grisham novel by the time of the safety video. Now we know that if you know you're going to crash, brace. And if your plane is going to crash nose-first as "Big Flo'" did, then you'll want to be at the back. The seat Channel 4 gave me on its Facebook interactive thingy put me on row 22-24, which would have seen me escape unscathed. "Result," I thought. And then we were told that if the back of the plane hits first, then the opposite is true. On the bright side, you're statistically most likely to plunge into the sea, so it's all academic.

Flying normally causes me less stress than a tea round. But the fact that it took a Channel 4 documentary to learn the front landing gear doesn't snap off like it's supposed to and the aviation industry hasn't done a test like this since 1984 hasn't filled me with confidence. Is it really so hard to crash a plane on purpose every few years?

Read next: Adam Sherwin on the four-year battle to bring an airliner plummeting down to earth

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