Factoids On Flying For Inquisitive Travellers

Interesting Facts On Flying

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Let’s face it, whether you are a seasoned traveller or not, most of us do not have an enquiring enough mind to query or find out much about flying. In fact, out of curiosity and a bit of digging into the subject by the lean team, we found out quite a few interesting aspects to life amongst the clouds. 

Here are a few fascinating and some weird factoids we never knew about taking to the skies, according to flight attendants, pilots, and industry experts.

We can ignore it and carry on in your blissful ignorance or go with the knowledge of how to mitigate most of it or take comfort in actually knowing…even though we actually wish we didn't know some of it.

Missing Screws?!

It would be most appalling and scary to know that the aircraft you are about to board are missing screws! But apparently, planes do not need to be in perfect condition to get us all safely to our destination. There are guidelines for how many screws can be missing and a threshold of acceptable missing screws on the plane. So, it looks like there is no need for worry if one wing is missing five screws, as we should be able to fly and land safely, however, if it is six…

Limited Emergency Oxygen Supply

Cabins are pressurised to 75% of the normal atmospheric pressure. If cabin pressurisation is lost when the cabin altitude is above 14,000 feet, oxygen masks will be deployed to prevent oxygen deprivation, which causes euphoria, decreased reaction time, impaired judgment and vision. But the mask will only supply enough oxygen for about 12 – 15 minutes. But that might be irrelevant as the important thing is to get your mask on immediately, as you risk passing out just 30 seconds after cabin pressure drops to unsafe levels.

Why, Dimmed Lights?

Dimming the lights is meant to prepare your eyes for a potential evacuation. Yes, the point is to get passengers’ eyes adjusted to their external surroundings just in case something goes wrong during take-off or landing emergencies The lights in the cabin should match what the lighting is outside of the aircraft, hence lights on when it day light outside and dimmed when it is night.

Experienced Pilots?! 

As airlines around the world expanding their fleets, there seem to be a shortage of pilots as it takes a tremendous amount of time and money to train a pilot. Hence, pilots aren't always experienced, even with big airlines. The pitch by Aer Lingus to recruit pilots in May 2018 was “Commercial jet airline pilots wanted. No experience necessary.” Sign up, get accepted, train for 14 months — and then take the controls.

However, they don’t just pass, be a certified pilot and fly on. They are required to undergo "retraining" every six months. They go through simulator flights and exams, annual route checks in an aircraft, aircraft-specific refresher courses and emergency procedure modules and exams on top of aptitude and attitude assessments, psychological and competency tests etc. 
Even when knowing that they are inexperienced, we may have to take comfort in the fact that they know their craft — when it comes to both plane and skills.

Fly With One Engine, Glide & Land With None

When you hear contrived sentences like "one of our engines is indicating improperly" or we don’t hear anything at all, can actually mean that we are flying with one engine! 

It is good to know that modern twin-engine planes are able to continue flying perfectly well even if one engine is lost. Pilots are trained to carry out a number of checklists to ensure the remaining engine is secure and safe, and then carry on to land at a nearby suitable airport. 

And if the other engine fails, airplanes can fly through the movement of air passing over the wings. And, depending on how the plane was flying when the engines failed, it may have up to half an hour or 6 nautical miles for every 5000 feet before it becomes necessary to land. Slightly reassuring, maybe because it is sort of what the pilots do anyway to save fuel. 

The lower the engine power, the less fuel the engines burn. descending the aircraft towards the destination airport with the thrust at it’s minimum setting, is effectively gliding. Therefore we will all have experience the aircraft gliding on almost every flight we’ve been on!

Safest Or Smoothest Ride?

The safest place on a plane is the tail People sitting in the back of a plane are 69 % more likely to survive in the event of a crash; people at the front – 49%. According to Popular Mechanic’s research, passengers near the tail of a plane are about 40% more likely to survive a crash than those in the first few rows up front. At the same time, it is also the worst place on the plane for turbulence and movement since airflow goes from front to back. 

A plane is like a seesaw that doesn’t move so much in the middle. So, if we want to have a smoother ride over the better chance of survival in a plane crash, we know what seats to choose.