Why no whole-plane parachute system on commercial flights?
There are already parachute systems for small planes, so why aren't there any for bigger airplanes? Sure, most accidents happen during takeoff and landing, but that can easily be remedied with rockets, like military planes get. If the plane is too low to open the parachute, then jettison the wings (they could be cut from the plane with small explosives), fuel tanks and all flight control surfaces, and then use rockets to propel the airplane upwards and give it some altitude from where it's safe to deploy the parachute, no? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEh5ChbJKAQ
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Really depends who you think your audience is. Lay people may just want to know how a plane flys or why certain things happen on commercial flights. Pilots may want to learn about skills/ratings they havent acquired yet, recent incidents.
I have never heard of that (although maybe you should suggest it to them). I am fairly active on COPA (Cirrus Owner and Pilot's Association), and I have never heard it mentioned.
I will tell you this - the parachute works. It's an emergency device, and the plane is rarely salvageable, and you *may* even get banged up - but the impact under canopy is almost always survivable. And that is far better than the outcome for most IMC loss of control or aircraft control failure situations in conventional aircraft.
There are some speed limits for certain types of airspace. Airliners are always in contact with air traffic control and in order to keep the required separation of aircraft sometimes the controllers will ask the pilot to maintain an airspeed. More than likely you experienced a slowdown while your plane was beginning an approach, During approach controllers have to maintain specific spacing between aircraft and often must slow them down behind slower aircraft. Your plane very likely was slowing down from approx 570 knots to 250 knots or less for the approach.
Your question is a good one - but the answer is much more complicated that you would expect. Think about driving your car from point A to point B across a city. Lots of paths - some shorter than others, but the shortest path may not be the quickest. Or the quickest may involve a toll road - and you may or may not be in a hurry.
The usual most important factor (for commercial operations, at least) is to save money, while still arriving on time. Airplanes in the air are subject to the winds aloft, which will generally be at different strengths AND DIRECTIONS at different altitudes. Most airplanes operate more efficiently at higher altitudes (up to limits), but at those higher altitudes the plane may face stiffer headwind. Further, it costs time and fuel to climb to those altitudes, and you will not regain coming down as much as it took going up. [Think of a bicycle on hilly terrain vs. level ground.]
So what's the answer? Well, for most trips the pilot will consider all these factors. They are taught during training how to plan the flight in terms of time and fuel required, and to include in that especially the winds at different altitudes. Then they will pick the altitude, whatever that is, that maximizes the results that they consider most important.