Here's What Would Happen If Everyone Jumped On A Plane At Once

Whenever an aircraft loaded with passengers takes off into the sky, it's done with the agreement that everyone on-board will do their part to make sure the flight goes smoothly. The pilot and co-pilot are all trained in how to fly the aircraft and handle emergencies. The flight attendants assist passengers and are trained in dealing with emergencies as well. And the passengers are expected to remain in their seats as much as possible and to not disturb the crew or the other passengers. It's one of those covenants that govern our daily lives.

But here's a thought experiment: imagine that the passengers all colluded with one another to disrupt the flight not by an act of violence, such as rushing the cockpit, but by simply applying the laws of physics. Specifically, imagine that all of the passengers on board the flying plane agreed to jump into the air at exactly the same time, effectively forcing all of their weight downward against the bottom of the aircraft. Would it cause the plane to crash?

The jumping passengers aren't going to make a lick of difference

As Travel and Leisure reports, users discussed this over on question-and-answer forum Quora and were lucky enough to get an explanation from an engineer. Or at the very least, a user claiming to be an engineer; there is, of course, no way to verify these claims.

Nevertheless, user P.J. Harb walked the users through the experiment. For the sake of simplicity, imagine that every passenger on the plane weighs 165 pounds. Multiplied by 300 passengers that equates to 49,500 pounds. If they all jumped at once, they'd exert that weight onto the floor of the craft all at once.

Now, the plane itself, when loaded with passengers, fuel, and luggage, weighs about half a million pounds. Long story short, if all of the passengers jumped at once, the experiment would impart a fraction of the weight of the craft into the equation. The pilot may feel "some vibrations," as Harb noted, but otherwise, the plane's autopilot mechanism will automatically correct for any changes to the flight path, and that will be it. So, as Travel and Leisure writer Stacey Leasca notes, if an impromptu dance party breaks out on the plane, it's still going to land perfectly safely.