12 Airplane Facts You’ve Always Been Curious About
Flying can spark a lot of questions about everything from the iffy food to the holes in the airplane windows. Brush up on your airplane trivia, and become an airplane expert before you fly off for your next trip.
Why is there a hole in airplane windows?
If you’ve ever been nervous about the little hole in your airplane window, don’t fret. The hole is necessary to regulate cabin pressure. Airplane windows are made up of multiple panels, so the hole helps the middle panel from becoming stressed with pressure during flight. Next time you have airplane questions about safety, rest assured that the tiny hole in your window isn’t a problem. Here are the 16 air travel mistakes to stop making before your next flight.
Why don’t windows and seats always line up on airplanes?
It can seem a little odd that windows and seats don’t always line up on planes, but airlines are actually to blame. When the YouTube channel Today I Found Out tackled the subject, it found out that seats aren’t placed with any regard to where windows are because the airlines decide how many rows of seats there will be on each plane, and not every airline decides on the same number of rows.
Why are airplanes always white?
“The main reason why aircraft are painted white or light colors is to reflect sunlight and minimize both the heating and potential damage from solar radiation,” John Hansman, a Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, says. “It’s basically the same as putting sunblock on.” White airplanes also helps airlines spend less to cool the cabin and protects parts of the plane that are susceptible to heat damage.
Why does airplane food taste so bad?
If eating airline food has left a bad taste in your mouth, you’re not alone. When you’re that high in the air, your sense of taste dulls, so it isn’t necessarily the food’s fault. While that may be true, Harold McGee, a scientist and the author of On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, says it doesn’t help that airplane food has to be chilled and stored for long periods of time. Learn the 13 things you should never eat on an airplane.
What’s the safest seat on an airplane?
While most airline companies and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) maintains that there is no safest seat, a look at hard data about airline accidents from Popular Mechanics found that it’s safer in the back. The investigation found that passengers near the tail of the plane were 40 percent more likely to survive a crash than those in the front. So next time you book a flight, you might want to get a seat in the back.
Why do cabin crews dim the lights when a plane lands?
One of the most unknown facts about airplanes is that cabins dim the lights during landing for security preparation reasons. Dimming the lights is a precautionary measure that allows a passenger’s eyes to adjust to the darkness. That way, if something goes wrong on the descent, everyone’s eyes will already be adjusted for evacuation. Here’s what 9 common airplane noises mean.
What are the white trails that planes leave in the sky?
Those white lines in the sky are called vapor trails or contrails, and they are the result of aviation fuel being burned. When the fuel is burned, it produces carbon dioxide and water, which condenses into tiny droplets behind a plane in the air. If you pay close attention, you can see that there’s always a gap between a plane and the vapor trails—that’s because it takes time for the gas to form as droplets. The more you know!
Can a plane door actually open mid-flight?
Rest assured, it cannot. In fact, it’s actually impossible. The cabin pressure simply won’t let you. As askthepilot.com explains, “At a typical cruising altitude, up to eight pounds of pressure are pushing against every square inch of the body of the aircraft. That’s over 1,100 pounds against each square foot of door.” Here are some other things you should never, ever do on a plane.
Is flying in lightning safe?
Flying in lightning is generally safe because planes are built to withstand lightning strikes. The metal from the plane serves as protection, and aircraft have lightning protection systems to fight electrical build-up. In fact, the safest place to be in a lightning storm is inside a metal cage such as an aircraft. The FAA even estimates that every plane currently in service in the United States gets hit by lightning at least once a year. How’s that for some airplane trivia?
Why do your ears pop while flying?
Ear popping can be an unfortunate side effect of flying, but it isn’t one that can be remedied easily. Ears pop because when planes get higher in the sky, the surrounding atmosphere becomes thinner. The air inside the cabin, however, is pressurized to a different level, and according to physics.org, this causes the air trapped in our bodies (and ears) to expand. While there’s no way around this happening, experts recommend chewing gum or yawning to sort your ears out. This is the surprising reason most airports are carpeted.