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The image of a Russian plane making an emergency landing and bursting into flames at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport was disturbing. The plane on fire returned to the airport and sought the help of fire fighters on the ground but this was not enough as they took time to douse the raging flames that had engulfed the plane. An AirZimbabwe plane from OR Tambo headed for the Robert Mugabe International Airport also experienced technical problems and was forced to return to the airport and witnesses reportedly saw small fire emerging from one of its engines.

What happens when a plane encounters problems especially fire?

The pilot will seek refuge on the ground and as witnessed in Russia, the help may not be enough.

Water runways solution

A passenger plane slid off a runway in the US state of Florida on the 3rd of May , ending up in a river after landing during a thunderstorm. Twenty-one people were taken to hospital with minor injuries.The chartered Boeing 737, operated by Miami Air International, had flown from Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to a military base in the city of Jacksonville.

In January 2019, a US Airways Flight 1549 was an Airbus A320 which, in the climbout after takeoff from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport struck a flock of Canada geese just northeast of the George Washington Bridge and consequently lost all engine power. Unable to reach any airport, pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles glided the plane to a ditching in the Hudson River off Midtown Manhattan. All 155 people aboard were rescued by nearby boats and there were few serious injuries.

Wikipedia has a lot of case studies on water landing which helped reduce the toll of plane crash survivors.

Redesigning Airports?

Our airports can help reduce the number of fatalities of air crashes if they can also have sections of water run ways where planes can be directed to if they are on fire. Its much safer and effective rather than relying on fire fighters who can sometimes take their time to reach planes engulfed by raging fire. The planes in distress are literally fire bombs which can cause serious damage to other planes on the runway plus passengers on the ground.

Your thoughts on this Zimbos?

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