An aircraft is any machine that is able to fly by using support from the air. The concept of an aircraft and stories of manned flight go back many centuries; however, the first manned ascent – and safe descent – in modern times took place by hot-air balloon in the 18th century.
50 Interesting facts about airplanes and airlines
1. Established in 1919, KLM is the world’s oldest airline, while Quantas is the world’s second oldest.
2. As per Airports Council International’s year-to-date figures, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the U.S. is the world’s busiest airport.
3. You can power 480,000 32-inch flatscreen TVs with the total electrical capacity of a 747-8 aircraft.
4. If the distance covered by the entire fleet of Boeing 747s is added up, you could make 75,000 trips to the moon and back.
5. If you want to take the world’s longest flight, you would have to board the flight from Sydney to Dallas in an Airbus A380 aircraft.
6. Almost 30,000 flights take place in the U.S. every day. And more than two million passengers travel via aircraft every 24 hours.
7. And across the world, there are 200,000 flights airborne every day.
8. Some airlines mandate that the pilot and co-pilot eat different meals so as to avert the chances of simultaneous food poisoning to both these individuals who are in command of the aircraft.
9. Did you know one third of your taste buds become numb while you are flying? That is why food tastes different while you are on an airplane.
10. Out of the total number of airports in the world, one third are located in the U.S.
11. In 1999, Alaska Airlines introduced the online check-in option for the first time.
12. On an average, 61,000 people are airborne over the U.S. every hour.
13. Are you interested in learning how airplanes fly? As the airplane flies, the air pressure below and above the wings is different. The difference in the pressure keeps the airplane airborne. Technically, this difference of pressure is termed as “lift.”
14. Airplanes are an American invention. The duo of Orville (August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867 – May 30, 1912) Wright invented and built the world’s first successful airplanes in 1903.
15. In 1977, two fully loaded planes with more than 600 passengers on board collided head-on on the middle of a runway, killing at least 500 passengers.
16. Military airplanes can be longer than the height of six-story buildings.
17. In 1920s and 1930s, pilots were given “Blunder Trophies” for making silly mistakes while operating airplanes.
18. Commercial airport runways can be 2-4 feet thick, and are filled with asphalt.
19. The Antonov AN-225 cargo jet is the largest plane in the world.
20. The U.S. airline industry makes about $170 billion each year in revenue.
21. And airlines around the world earn $640 billion in revenue every year.
22. Did you know that about 20% of people are afraid of flying?
23. Astonishingly, due to fatigue and improper rest, between 43% and 54% of pilots surveyed in Sweden, Norway and the U.K. admitted to have fallen asleep while flying a passenger jet. And furthermore, you will be scared to know that one third of these pilots found their co-pilots also sleeping when they woke up. This fact signifies the importance of rest, as well as good physical and mental health for the aviation crew.
24. The majority of commercial pilots are paid for the number of hours they fly and not on a monthly basis.
25. Although autopilot can be used during takeoffs and landings, it is not generally used. It takes control of the airplane most of the time except in cases of turbulence, take-offs and landings. The autopilot function helps achieve the best fuel efficiency.
26. In some cases, the pilot can dump fuel in order to make an emergency landing. This is done to avoid excessive weight of the aircraft while landing at places where suitable conditions might not exist. The dumped fuel, however, evaporates and does not reach the ground.
27. The Concorde, which is the world’s fastest airliner, was built by British and French engineers. It was the most successful commercial supersonic airplane.
28. A total of 20 Concordes were built. 14 of these flew commercially both for British Airways and Air France. Costs of operation and ownership were the main concern for other airlines, which never operated Concordes for these reasons.
29. All international airline pilots speak English, which is a prerequisite.
30. Delta Airlines is the world’s largest airline in terms of aircraft fleet.
31. The world’s largest runway is in China at the ‘Qamba Bamba’ Airport. It is 5.5. Kilometers in length.
32. Concerned about your safety during the flight? Choose Qantas airlines because it is the world’s safest airline. It has zero fatalities on record to date.
33. If you were looking for a lucrative business opportunity, you would be thrilled to know that in-flight catering is an $18-billion industry, and it employs more than 200,000 qualified and well-trained individuals to deliver the best services.
34. The place near the tail of an airplane is the safest to be in the event of a crash.
35. Sometimes small efforts can deliver big results. American Airlines is known to save $40,000 a year by simply eliminating one olive from each in-flight salad.
36. The fate of a Boeing 727 that took off in 2003 is still unknown.
37. The North Maeric X-15 is the fastest supersonic airplane. It can fly at a speed of 6.7 Mach (7,200 km/h). In other words, it can fly at 6.7 times the speed of sound.
38. If you know chemistry a little bit, you may not be surprised to learn that mercury can tear apart aluminum at the point of its contact with metal. This is why it is not a good thing to bring mercury aboard an airplane. Even if you try, you will not be allowed to do so.
39. New Bangkok International Airport of Thailand, has the world’s tallest air traffic control (ATC), tower standing 132.2m (434ft).
40. Some airports can be bigger than the size of an entire country. King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, Saudi Arabia sits on 192,000 acres of land—that’s bigger than the entire country of Bahrain.
Airplanes that are the world’s fastest and mightiest
41. The first Concorde ever built took its initial test flight on March 2nd, 1969
42. The Concorde flew faster at 50,000 to 55,000 feet. At this height, air turbulence was less of a problem, and the travelers could see the curvature of the Earth from the plane.
43. The Concorde took 2 hours and 56 minutes to fly from New York to London on January 1st, 1983. Today, to cover the same distance, it takes at least 5 hours and 16 minutes if you were flying with the fastest of the modern airliners.
44. An Airbus A380 weighs a whopping 590 tons. And it can fly at a maximum speed of 640 miles per hour at an altitude of 53,000 feet.
45. For every passenger that flies in an A380 aircraft, four liters of fuel are burnt for every 100 kilometer of travel. In other words, the airliner burns approximately 22 liters of aviation fuel for every kilometer it travels during flight.
46. And you could only land this massive airplane on just 20 runways in the world. The airbus A380 is the world’s biggest passenger jet. It can accommodate 525 passengers in a typical three-class configuration, and up to 853 passengers in an all-economy class.
47. The world’s largest passenger jet, the Airbus A380, can fly a distance of 15,700 kilometers nonstop at a cruising speed of Mach 0.85, or 900 kilometers per hour.
48. Emirates Airlines operates the biggest fleet of Airbus A380s. They have 67 of these aircraft in operation, while another 73 are ordered and will be delivered by Airbus in the coming years.
49. And yes, if you were interested in buying an A380-800, you would have to write a check of $428 million.
50. The A380 carries 323,546 liters, or 85,472 US gallons of fuel.