Originally Posted by NetworkTV
Passenger jets don't glide because they're designed to run with engine power. Prop planes have much lower thrust, so they need to be able to glide to stay airborne at lower speeds. You could easily make a plane as large and heavy as an airline that could glide. They just don't since once a jetliner is in the air, the thrust is enough to propel it forward. At that point, the wings required to glide would waste fuel due to wind resistance.
A large, fully loaded prop driven bomber could land safely with no power (assuming a landing strip was close), but the same size airliner running empty with less overall weight would pancake soon after power loss....but have very little balance or aerodynamics for gliding and would tend to tumble when power is removed. They're meant to go fast with the engines pushing them and have little stability when that power is removed. In fact, once airborne, the larger wings on a fighter jet are actually a liability when it comes to flying at Mach level speeds.
On the other hand, something like an A-10, which is also a jet, but designed to fly low over the ground to kill tanks can actually perform reasonably well with loss of power. It wouldn't stay up long without at least one work engine, but with enough altitude, could glide for some distance to at least get out of harm's way.
Wow, talk about Science Fiction. Just about NONE of that is accurate. On average, airliners have about a 15:1 glide ratio or more and are, generally, at least as efficient at gliding as their prop driven siblings. That glide ratio means, for every 1000 ft of altitude (say 30,000 ft) they can glide 15,000 ft, which equates to gliding over 70nm and within reach of many possible airports. While I agree they would never just have gone into a flat spin, the rest of that analysis is simply wrong, especially the line "...but have very little balance or aerodynamics for gliding and would tend to tumble when power is removed.". The reason I point this out is not to disparage the show (though I thought it was pretty bad), but because you state these things with certitude and language that seems to imply actual knowledge and training in aerodynamics, causing some to take these comments as factual. They are not. Not even close.
As for the show, that sort of techno thing I could get past, but so much real world silliness occurred to make the plot just dumb. They walk to Chicago looking for someone they know next to nothing about and he's the first person in the entire city they actually run into and ask a question? Really? The kid with asthma just happens to collapse at the door of a woman who happens to be walking around with her son's asthma inhaler in her pocket? Really? This sort of thing is just the lazy writing that other shows exhibit. How hard would it be to just make it a tiny bit more believable? I love me some good sci-fi and hope for improvement. But after that opening, I am less optimistic.