Inside a Plane Crash
On April 27, 2012, a team of scientists staged an airplane crash near Mexicali, Mexico. An unmanned Boeing 727-200, fitted with numerous cameras, crash-test dummies and other scientific instruments, was flown into the ground. The exercise was filmed for television.
Several federal permits by the Mexican government were needed before the remote controlled flight and crash could be performed. In addition, the Mexican authorities stipulated that the aircraft had to be flown by humans during part of the flight, since it would be flying over a populated area.
The airplane took off from General Rodolfo Sánchez Taboada International Airport in Mexicali, with the flight crew and a small group of passengers, as well as a number of crash dummies, and with a chase plane following close behind. As the flight progressed towards the Sonoran Desert of Baja California in Mexico, its occupants parachuted to safety. Slocum was the last one to leave the jet, four minutes before impact. Shanle then flew the jetliner by remote control, from the chase plane.
The jetliner hit the ground at 140mph, with a descent rate of 1,500 feet per minute. Upon impact, the Boeing 727 broke up into several sections, the cockpit being torn off the fuselage.
The zone of the crash had been cordoned off by security teams, as well as Mexican police and military, for the safety of the public.