Movie airplanes and suction

Having watched a recent action movie (with zombies in it) I wondered whether the suction from a hole in the airplane's hull would really be able to rip out luggage, persons and even seating benches.

To my understanding, "suction" is nothing but the lack of pressure, i.e. the suction in the airplanes cabin can only be proportional to the pressure in there. Bernoulli principle would quickly void the plane of breathable air, justifying the oxygen masks that drop from the cealing. In this short period things would get pushed towards the hole by the air leaving the cabin.

Afterwards though, once the pressure in the cabin has dropped significantly, suction would cease, as there is no more air that can exert force onto objects.

The question now is: Is the above a correct description of the circumstances? And if yes, how large could the forces be? Would they be strong enough to rip people out of their seats or even the whole seat out of the airplane, or is this another cinematic exaggeration?

• Commented Jul 10, 2013 at 11:47

• That's true. A somewhat crude estimate could be given in terms of the above mentioned Bernoulli principle. Entering something like 1/2*(density of air at 10000 ft)*(300 m/s)^2 into Wolfram|Alpha gives 400 mbar. This would be comparable to the pressure difference due to the height only. Commented Jul 10, 2013 at 17:34