EVACUATION SLIDES (Syllabus GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     29th May 2024        
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Context: Recently, a Varanasi-bound Indigo flight faced a bomb threat at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport, prompting the swift evacuation of its 176 passengers using evacuation slides.

Evacuation Slides

  • About: These are inflatable devices designed to facilitate safe passenger exit from aircraft during emergencies, particularly when the flight door is positioned high above the ground.
  • Types: They come in four main types: inflatable slide, inflatable slide/raft, inflatable exit ramp, and inflatable exit ramp/slide.
  • Functionality: Inflatable slides enable passengers to descend from aircraft exit doors to the ground, or alternatively, from aircraft wings with the aid of the slide. Rafts or mats may be deployed on the ground for additional safety.
  • Versatility: The inflatable slide/raft serves dual purposes, functioning both as an exit slide and a life raft in water landings.
  • Construction: Typically constructed from carbon fibres and nylon coated with fire-resistant urethane, evacuation slides are engineered to withstand tearing during descent.
  • Deployment Mechanism: Evacuation slides are packed within cabin doors or external fuselage compartments and are linked to a lever that triggers deployment upon door opening. Mid-flight door opening is prevented due to cabin pressure differences.
  • Process: It is facilitated by high-pressure gas containers containing carbon dioxide or nitrogen, along with suction machines drawing in ambient air.

Protocols for Deployment

  • Deployment Criteria: Evacuation slides must deploy when the distance between the exit door and the ground exceeds six feet, as stipulated by aviation safety regulations.
  • Automatic Deployment: EUASA guidelines mandate automatic slide deployment upon door opening, with inflation typically occurring within six to ten seconds.
  • Weather Resilience: Slides must be deployable in various weather conditions, including extreme temperatures ranging from -40°C to 71°C, and capable of withstanding heavy rain and winds up to 46 km/hr from 45-degree angles around the aircraft, as per FAA standards.
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