• Friday, June 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

10 interesting aviation facts you may not know

NCAA suspends 3 private jet operators over commercial flights

From the moment the Wright brothers first took to the skies, aviation has been a fascinating and rapidly evolving field. Today, air travel is a cornerstone of modern life, with millions of people around the world relying on it to connect with others, explore new destinations, and conduct business. But beyond the familiar routines of airport security and in-flight snacks, lies a rich and intriguing world of aviation facts and figures.

According to Simply Flying, here are 10 interesting aviation facts.

Planes can fly with only one engine

 

Most planes are typically designed to fly with a single engine. This capability is often related to continued flight and landing, as taking off with only one engine would be difficult.

Planes can land with no operating engines

If all engines fail, a plane can still glide through the air using its body shape. This means that if an engine failure happens when the plane is high in the sky, it can still fly for 20-30 minutes before descending to the ground.

Ashtrays are still located in the aeroplane lavatories

You might be surprised to know that aeroplanes still have ashtrays in their lavatories, even though smoking has been banned on flights since 2000. But there is a good reason for this. Although smoking is not allowed, ashtrays are still included as a precautionary measure. If someone were to secretly smoke in the lavatory, the ashtray provides a safe place to dispose of the cigarette, preventing any potential damage to the plane or its interior.

The tanks of oxygen for passenger masks are only supposed to last 15 minutes

It is important to note that oxygen is only necessary at high altitudes. In an emergency, the pilot has enough time – around 10-15 minutes – to descend to an altitude below 10,000 feet, where the air is rich in oxygen and oxygen masks are no longer needed.

Aeroplane contrails are actually made of water

When aeroplanes fly overhead, they leave behind long trails of cloud-like streaks in the sky, known as contrails. These contrails are formed when the hot exhaust from the plane’s engines meets the cold air in the atmosphere, causing the water vapour in the exhaust to rapidly condense into tiny droplets.

The tiny hole in the passenger windows helps regulate cabin pressure

You might notice a small hole at the bottom of an aeroplane window and wonder what it’s for. This tiny hole is actually a vital feature called a bleed hole. It helps equalise the air pressure inside the cabin with the outside air, and also allows moisture to escape, preventing frost from forming on the window and blocking the view.

The cabin is dimmed on landing for emergency measures

Contrary to popular belief, dimming the cabin lights before landing is not just about setting a relaxing mood. When it is dark outside, flight attendants dim the lights to help passengers’ eyes adjust to the darkness. This way, if an emergency evacuation is necessary, passengers will be able to see more clearly in the dark, which can help prevent injuries and make the evacuation process safer.

Aeroplanes can get struck by lightning

Despite being struck by lightning relatively frequently, about once every 3,000 flight hours, aeroplanes are designed to withstand these electrical discharges. In fact, there has not been a lightning-related plane crash since 1967. Modern aircraft are engineered to allow lightning to pass through the plane without causing damage, by providing a safe path for the electrical charge to enter and exit the aircraft. This careful design ensures the safety of passengers and crew.

Travellers lose out on over a third of their taste buds during flight

Have you ever wondered why aeroplane food can taste so bland? It is not just the cooking, at high altitudes, the air becomes extremely dry and the air pressure drops. This affects our sense of smell, which is closely linked to our sense of taste. As a result, our ability to detect flavours is impaired, making food taste less vibrant and less appetising. So, it is not the food itself, but the high-altitude environment that is to blame for the lacklustre taste.

Pilots and copilots typically eat different meals

While there is no official rule, pilots and copilots typically eat separate meals prepared in different ways. This precaution helps minimise the risk of food poisoning or other illnesses that could impair their ability to operate the aircraft safely. By eating separate meals, pilots and copilots can reduce the chance of both being affected by the same foodborne issue, ensuring the safety of the flight.