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Thread: Is this plane crash scenario physically possible?

  1. #1 Is this plane crash scenario physically possible? 
    Forum Sophomore Killtown's Avatar
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    Scenario:

    A large commercial airplane is about to crash into a field of loose refilled soil. Its at a 40deg angle and on its side (wings pointed north and south) as it strikes the ground going over 550mph. Its wingtip hits the ground first, causing the plane to begin to go end over. The front section of the plane (say the front 1/3) breaks off from being the next part to strike the ground and shatters into pieces off into the field. The remainder of the plane to its tail (say 2/3) continues a downward 40deg-ish trajectory, with so much force, that it burrows down to about 45ft into the ground where it comes to rest against deep layer of bedrock, accordioning up against it. The ground, being of loose refilled dirt, falls back in on itself, effectively filling up the hole just made by the burrowing remainder of the plane, so much so that it looks like only a shallow 10ft-deep crater was left, as if a bomb exploded on the ground. The only dirt displaced from the incident is a pushed to the side mound that is the same amount that would fill back the 10ft-deep crater level.

    Is that plane crash scenario physically possible?


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  3. #2  
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    I most certainly do not know, but just out of curiosity, are you writing a book ?


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  4. #3  
    Geo
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    Yes.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wilson
    I most certainly do not know, but just out of curiosity, are you writing a book ?
    Sorta.

    No thoughts to whether the scenario is possible, or not?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Sophomore Killtown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geo
    Yes.
    You think it's possible? If so, how plausible do you think it is?
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killtown
    Quote Originally Posted by Geo
    Yes.
    You think it's possible? If so, how plausible do you think it is?
    It is not at all plausible, a more or less invisible crask scene, but that doesn't matter.

    Judging by the average quality of pasts to science forums and the quality of people elected by the population at large, your audience will buy just about any scenario. More important will be a good plot.

    Reality is too dull for a good novel.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Sophomore Killtown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by Killtown
    Quote Originally Posted by Geo
    Yes.
    You think it's possible? If so, how plausible do you think it is?
    It is not at all plausible
    I don't think so either. Do you think it's even possible? I don't.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killtown
    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by Killtown
    Quote Originally Posted by Geo
    Yes.
    You think it's possible? If so, how plausible do you think it is?
    It is not at all plausible
    I don't think so either. Do you think it's even possible? I don't.
    Possible ? Maybe, but the circumstances would be very contrived. Nearly anything is possible under just the right circumstances. But unlikely enough to be impossible in a practical sense.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Sophomore Killtown's Avatar
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    Did you mean "But unlikely enough to be [possible] in a practical sense"?
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killtown
    Did you mean "But unlikely enough to be [possible] in a practical sense"?
    no

    Something of extremely low probability is, in these terms, practically impossible.

    It is, however, technically possible.

    It is possible to stand a sharp pencil on its point. You will never see it actually happen.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    It is possible to stand a sharp pencil on its point. You will never see it actually happen.
    Probably the best metaphor for the concept.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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  13. #12  
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    The described scenario reads almost the exact same as one of the eye-witness accounts of the crash of United Airlines Flight 93. One such testimony appears to pop up quite a lot on 9/11 conspiracy sites, that of a "Wally Miller".

    "The explanation was, when the plane came in, it was coming low. It banked at a 90deg angle -- allegedly from the people, from the struggle in the cockpit.
    The right wing hit the ground right there were the impact area is and as that happened, it took the front end...[does cartwheel hand gesture].
    The front 1/3 of the plane, including the cockpit, slammed into the ground off of the wing and the front 1/3 broke off and flew up into the trees and there was a fireball behind it and the remaining 2/3'rds went down in the ground." - Wally Miller, interviewed by Dominick DiMaggio (Sept. 2008)"
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  14. #13  
    Forum Sophomore Killtown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Something of extremely low probability is, in these terms, practically impossible.

    It is, however, technically possible.

    It is possible to stand a sharp pencil on its point. You will never see it actually happen.
    That's what I thought you meant. Just wanted to be sure.

    I, however, don't think it's possible at all. I can't see the rear 2/3 of the plane still having enough velocity to burrow deep in the ground if it hit and the cockpit broke off as in the above scenario. Plus if you pushed back the displaced dirt in the remainder of the hole and it fills it in level as if nothing buried there.
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    The described scenario reads almost the exact same as one of the eye-witness accounts of the crash of United Airlines Flight 93. One such testimony appears to pop up quite a lot on 9/11 conspiracy sites, that of a "Wally Miller".
    Yes, that's where part of the scenario came from, but regardless, is the scenario even possible? If possible, how plausible?
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killtown
    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Something of extremely low probability is, in these terms, practically impossible.

    It is, however, technically possible.

    It is possible to stand a sharp pencil on its point. You will never see it actually happen.
    That's what I thought you meant. Just wanted to be sure.

    I, however, don't think it's possible at all. I can't see the rear 2/3 of the plane still having enough velocity to burrow deep in the ground if it hit and the cockpit broke off as in the above scenario. Plus if you pushed back the displaced dirt in the remainder of the hole and it fills it in level as if nothing buried there.
    At the very least that would require soil that flows very easily. I think that any disagreement that we have is a mere nit. Short of exceeding the speed of light very few things are literally impossible, but they still don't happen.
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  17. #16  
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    It is quite true that if you put a monkey at a typewriter he will eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare, with probability 1. One can prove this rigorously, as a theorem in probability theory. So it is very possible.

    One can also show, again using probability theory, that given any reasonable typing speed, that the expected time for the monkey to perform this feat exceeds, by a huge margin, the age of the universe. It ain't gonna happen.
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    At the very least that would require soil that flows very easily.
    Maybe I should have gotten more technically describing the refilled field. It would be your average stripmine that has been backfilled with your average backfill soil. I think that kind of soil is referred to as "loam." Essentially refilled from 45ft below. I guess I could put a time period from when the field was backfilled, since the longer the time length, the more packed the soil would become.

    I think that any disagreement that we have is a mere nit. Short of exceeding the speed of light very few things are literally impossible, but they still don't happen.
    Agreed. At best, I'd agree that the scenario has as much chance as your metaphor of standing a sharp pencil on its point! lol
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  19. #18  
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    I think the most unrealistic part is the angle, speed and thinking any large section would remain intact. Crashed of even much lower speeds usually result in the craft being scattered in thousands of pieces. The crashes that happen an there's anything substantial left are illustrated by accidents such as Flight 571, which at less than 200 knots a low descent angle hit the very top of a mountain pass came to rest in soft snow.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    thinking any large section would remain intact.
    Size of the debris remains isn't a factor in the scenario, but if you must, think most of the plane was reduced to small pieces, which would be logical if a plane crashed at over 550mph.
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  21. #20  
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    No one else has an opinion if the scenario is possible and/or plausible?
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  22. #21  
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    No one else cares to give their opinion???
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  23. #22 Re: Is this plane crash scenario physically possible? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killtown
    Its wingtip hits the ground first, causing the plane to begin to go end over.
    I think the amount of force/torque needed to detach a wing would be less than the force required to accelerate the plane into cartwheel, and thus, the wing would detach rather than the plane cartwheel.

    Let's say a jetliner with 100-foot wings hit the ground at 550 mph. That's 807 ft/sec acting on a 100 ft radius, resulting in 8.07 Rad/sec, which is 77 rpm. Whew! And how fast does it to accelerate to 77 rpm?
    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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  24. #23 Re: Is this plane crash scenario physically possible? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe
    Quote Originally Posted by Killtown
    Its wingtip hits the ground first, causing the plane to begin to go end over.
    I think the amount of force/torque needed to detach a wing would be less than the force required to accelerate the plane into cartwheel, and thus, the wing would detach rather than the plane cartwheel.

    Let's say a jetliner with 100-foot wings hit the ground at 550 mph. That's 807 ft/sec acting on a 100 ft radius, resulting in 8.07 Rad/sec, which is 77 rpm. Whew! And how fast does it to accelerate to 77 rpm?
    So at the very least, you think the scenario is completely implausible?
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  25. #24 Re: Is this plane crash scenario physically possible? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killtown
    So at the very least, you think the scenario is completely implausible?
    I think it's at least very implausible. Even digging a wing into water at 550 mph is like digging into a runway.
    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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