Some Facts about Planes
When we are about to step on board an aircraft, we naturally wish to have a safe flight. But do you prefer to go on as an informed passenger because ‘forewarned is forearmed’? Or are you an adherent of the opposite principle postulating that ignorance is bliss? In other words, the less we know the less we have to worry about. No matter which is your policy, some of the following facts about planes may be of interest to you. Many of them have little to do with safety of modern-day air travel. And you can skip over the rest if you feel you need not know more. Welcome aboard!
Do you have any idea why jets leave the white trail? Or which of the non-stop flights lasts longest? Or what size is the largest airplane up to date? Have you ever wondered if there are any crash-proof spaces inside an aircraft? Or what happens if lightning strikes on a plane in the sky? For these and more interesting facts about airplanes, read on.
What happens when lightning hits…
…Yes, actually modern aircraft can withstand lightning bolts. And they do! Statistically, every commercial jet is hit by lighting once a year, or once for every 1000 flight hours. But passengers will notice nothing. That’s because aircraft are now built lightning-proof. The last time a plane was brought down by lightning was in 1963. Today when lightning hits a plane, the current will travel along the conductor inside a protective double-layer shield with the charge leaving the plane at some point, most often the tail. Those inside just continue flying safely to their destination.
Officially there are none, sorry. But some data suggest that chances to die in an air crash are a few percent lower for tail seats, while certain researchers put them at as much as 40% lower. The weakest spot in a plane is the middle because that’s where the hull is most likely to snap in two.
The biggest aircraft
The biggest airplane in the world to have taken to the air is Antonov An-225, built by a design bureau headed by the Ukrainian aviation engineer Oleg Antonov. An-225 is a strategic military plane with a huge cargo hold that has the capacity to transport a space shuttle. The plane itself is as big as a regular size football field.
Flight attendants: discrimination is in order
The first stewards on flights that admitted passengers were all male. Back then women were deemed too tender to serve as cabin crew. However, very soon air companies realized that female flight attendants were, in fact, better suited for the job. Female presence has a calming effect on passengers. For this reason, women soon ousted male flight attendants.
Mobiles cannot really bring down a plane
This is one of the facts the flight attendant will most likely withhold from you: there is no risk of cell phones causing an emergency situation. But mobiles can be really annoying for the pilots who are known to have even missed their landing clearance once or twice because of the interference.
The longest non-stop route
The longest non-stop flight in the world is currently the route connecting Auckland and Doha, with the duration of 18 hours and 20 minutes. However, with more ultra-long-haul airplane flights coming soon, the record will not likely stand for long.
Why planes leave white trails?
The tracks we see in the wake of airplanes traveling across the sky are sometimes called contrails, which is short for condensation trails. They are nothing more than hot water fumes that look like that for the very same reason you can see your breath in cold weather. If the trail is thin and light, it means that humidity is low, whereas a thick and long track can forebode stormy weather.
There are more accidents on roads than up in the air. If you go by statistics, airplane flights are safer than traveling by car. Chances of dying in a plane crash are put at 1 to 11 000 000, while the likelihood of a road traffic casualty stands at 1 to 5000.
And a few more interesting facts about planes:
- Female cabin crew members have better chances with men than women in any other profession. Even strippers and waitresses lag behind them. Men fall for flight attendants more often than for women in any other job.
- Airplanes were first fitted with toilets five years after the first commercial flights were introduced.
- About 20% of all people have a fear of flights, while 3% suffer from severe cases of aerophobia with panic attacks and refusal to fly altogether.
- The highest altitude a jet has ever reached is 37 650 meters or 123 523 feet. The record was set by a Soviet military pilot Alexandr Fedotov flying a MiG-25 over Podmoskovnoye village in Russia.