Last updated on February 15th, 2020
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.
53 Interesting facts about airplanes and airlines
1. Did you know that about 20% of people are afraid of flying?
2. Astonishingly, due to fatigue and improper rest, between 43% and 54% of pilots surveyed in Sweden, Norway and the U.K. admitted having 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.
3. The majority of commercial pilots are paid for the number of hours they fly and not on a monthly basis.
4. The place near the tail of an airplane is the safest to be in the event of a crash.
5. Do 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.
6. 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.
7. In some cases, the pilot can dump fuel in order to make an emergency landing. This is done to avoid the 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.
8. Your chances of survival are rare in the event the plane catches fire as you have roughly 90 seconds to exit the airline before it bursts into a ball of flame… an impossible task if you are sitting more than five rows away from the emergency exit.
9. Cutting costs by skimping on fuel means a lighter plane and as a result better gas mileage. This saves money for the airliner. This could result in a major safety risk as it forces pilots to take off with less than the recommended amount of fuel. The fuel consumption of an airline is the most during the take-off and climbing process.
10. Airplane manufacturers do not manufacture all the parts themselves. They depend on hundreds of suppliers to provide them with parts including seats, fuselages, and engines, etc.
11. The waist belt cannot bear the jolt of a severe impact, causing your neck bone to snap. Cars, which traverse at a much lower speed, have shoulder harnesses that bear the jerk of an impact more efficiently. To add insult to injury (no pun intended), pilots and flight crews usually have at least shoulder straps, and often five-point harnesses.
12. Pilots and co-pilots often sleep during a long haul flight, depending on the autopilot system to manage the flight. Based on a study commissioned by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), the biggest threat to flight safety is the tendency of pilots to depend more and more on automated flight control systems.
13. Airliners provide pilots with specially prepared meals to ensure that they do not get sick.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. Military airplanes can be longer than the height of six-story buildings.
18. The Concorde, which is the world’s fastest airliner, was built by British and French engineers. It was the most successful commercial supersonic airplane.
19. The first Concorde ever built took its initial test flight on March 2nd, 1969. Concorde operated from 1976 until 2003. The plane could fly at a maximum speed which is twice the speed of sound (2,180 km/hr at cruise altitude).
20. 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.
21. 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.
22. 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.
23. All international airline pilots speak English, which is a prerequisite.
24. The world’s largest runway is in China at the ‘Qamba Bamba’ Airport. It is 5.5. Kilometers in length.
25. 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.
26. 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.
27. 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.
28. A Boeing 747 aircraft held the passenger capacity record for 37 years. It was introduced to service in 1970 and held its passenger capacity record until the introduction of the Airbus A380 in 2007. Because of its distinctive upper hump, it is one of the most recognizable aircraft in the world. Its original nickname is “Jumbo Jet”. You can power 480,000 32-inch flatscreen TVs with the total electrical capacity of a 747-8 aircraft.
29. 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.
30. The world’s longest non-stop flight was achieved by Singapore airlines A350-900 ULR while flying from Singapore to New York. The aircraft covered 9,537 miles in 17 hours and 25 minutes. The aircraft is fitted with Rolls Royce Trent XWB turbofan jet engines.
31. Almost 30,000 flights take place in the U.S. every day. And more than two million passengers travel via aircraft every 24 hours.
32. Established in 1919, KLM is the world’s oldest airline, while Quantas is the world’s second oldest.
33. Out of the total number of airports in the world, one-third are located in the U.S.
34. In 1999, Alaska Airlines introduced the online check-in option for the first time.
35. On an average, 61,000 people are airborne over the U.S. every hour.
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