Do parachutes prevents death when jumping from an aircraft?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by GreatLakesFlying, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. GreatLakesFlying

    GreatLakesFlying Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Believe it or not, this is the topic of a study led by a Harvard medical school team that just published its results in the BMJ (formerly known, as the British Medical Journal).

    The paper, titled "Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma when jumping from aircraft: randomized controlled trial" concludes that parachute use:

    "[does] not reduce death or major traumatic injury when jumping from aircraft in the first randomized evaluation of this intervention. However, the trial was only able to enroll participants on small stationary aircraft on the ground, suggesting cautious extrapolation to high altitude jumps. [...]"​

    The paper, of course, is a good humor satirical take on the significance of randomized control trials. A scientist's way of being funny and making a point at the same time. And it's fun to read.

    In an accompanying blog post the authors explain their motivation as follows:

    "In 2003, Smith and Pell published a tongue-in-cheek systematic review which concluded that there were no randomised clinical trials (RCTs) evaluating the effectiveness of parachutes in preventing major trauma related to “gravitational challenge.” They argued that the “most radical protagonists of evidence based medicine” should volunteer to participate in a randomised, double blind trial of the parachute. In the two decades since the appearance of this seminal work in The BMJ Christmas issue, the parachute has been the paragon of biological plausibility. The saviour of anecdote. The arch-nemesis of evidence based medicine. There isn’t a week that goes by without a head shaking colleague reminding us that the parachute hasn’t been tested in an RCT."
     
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  2. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I got quite a few jumps and I’m more of less alive ;)
     
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  3. JCranford

    JCranford En-Route

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    After 3600 jumps I can reliably conclude that parachutes do indeed reduce death or serious bodily injury after jumping from a plane.

    ;)
     
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  4. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Sounds like an article from The Journal of Irreproducible Results.
     
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  5. Wheels

    Wheels Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I believe that the whole point is that without making an equal number of jumps without a parachute there is no proof that the parachute kept you from being injured. You now need to make 3600 jumps without a parachute and report whether there was an increase in the number of deaths or serious bodily injuries suffered.
     
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  6. FlySince9

    FlySince9 En-Route

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    And then the old adage ..."No use in Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane"
    1st Retort: "If there were such things as perfectly good airplanes, there wouldn't be parachutes"
    2nd Retort: "But now the airplane has its own Parachute, so it must be perfect!"
     
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  7. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Plus DZ culture is quite fun
     
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  8. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    Reading this paper, I can see the humor because I’ve actually read medical research papers. It’s a well done spoof.

    However, the authors did not disclose whether they took payments, for example from students, so I think am going to report them to whatever agency is their counterpart to the FSDO.
     
  9. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Thats nothing but an anecdote.






    (I loathe MPHs)
     
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  10. -KLB-

    -KLB- Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Pulling the chute on a cirrus doesn't really do much for anyone jumping out of it. :)
     
  11. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    But you also need to test the alternate outcome by jumping from a plane without a parachute. Until you do that, all you have is a theory based on correlation and not causation.
     
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  12. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Shouldn't it be a double blind test? Perhaps the next few jumps with the parachute surreptitiously replaced with a backpack full of bed sheets?
     
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  13. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Correct. Neither the jumpmaster nor the jumper are allowed to know whether the bag contains a parachute or a bundle of newspapers.

    Btw. You don't need 3600 unsuccessful jumps. You just need enough to hit the cutoff criterion for the study.
     
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  14. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And he will be screaming "sheet, sheet, sheet" all the way down.
     
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  15. Anymouse

    Anymouse En-Route

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    The few instances I'm aware of people jumping without a parachute are skewed in that no one actually interviewed the subjects after the jump to get reliable data.
     
  16. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Actually, someone did get interviewed.
     
  17. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    And this is a bizarre story. I have a friend that worked for HP that knew a couple people on the plane. Not the lady that jumped though.
     
  18. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pattern Altitude

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    Most jump pilots will tell you those planes are far from being perfectly good. Airworthiness often seems to be more of a suggestion than a standard in that game.
     
  19. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I recall reading about a tail gunner that jumped from a bomber over Germany at xx thousand feet - the Germans thought he was a spy because he had no 'chute but ended up putting him in a POW camp.
     
  20. Anymouse

    Anymouse En-Route

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    Technically, she didn't jump.

    This guy apparently DID jump.


    But let's not muddy my humorous post with facts!!
     
  21. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Studies are useful:


    [​IMG]
     
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  22. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy En-Route

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    Unless it’s double blinded and randomized I’m not believing it. :yawn:
     
  23. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    I have a healthy distrust of parachutes dating back to my Air Force days.
    I went in to pick up my 'chute one day before a flight, and found out it had been packed by an airman last class who had just come off a week of KP because some brand new 2nd LT didn't like the way the kid saluted him.
    I never bothered to check, but I'm still willing to bet that the pack was either full of old blankets and sheets, or the chute was totally shredded.
     
  24. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Attention to detail is one reason I really like Disney/Pixar movies... And there's humor for the adults in 'em too:

     
  25. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I had a co-worker years ago who was into skydiving. He was in the camp who said there was no such thing as a perfectly good airplane. Having seen what they jumped out of, I can see where they got that opinion. They beat the heck out of those things.

    Now, we had a Sgt Major in ROTC who was fond of saying, "Two things fall from the sky. Birds^&t and fools!" He, obviously, didn't think highly of Airborne folks. :p