You have probably boarded a plane a couple of times in your life so far, but have you really sat down and made an effort to understand aircrafts a little bit better? Airplanes and aviation in general are such complicated topics you usually content yourself with just seeing them do their thing rather than give them much thought, but below are facts that could somehow bring you closer to the truth about how they work.
1. Traveling by plane is the safest way there is to get to where you want to be! In 2017, no deaths were recorded in terms of commercial aircraft accidents. In the same year, car accidents were responsible for 40,100 deaths just in the U.S. alone.
2. Airplanes can trigger lightning, but it looks like they are efficient enough to withstand it as there have been no lightning-related plane crashes in the U.S. since 1963. Whenever lightning strikes, aircrafts are clever enough to evenly distribute the electrical current throughout their conductive aluminum interiors, and by grounding their interior electric systems, any form of surges that could interfere with their functionality is prevented.
3. The safest seats on the plane can be found at the back—the rear third of the aircraft accounts for 32 percent of flight fatalities. The front has 38 per cent fatality rate, while the most dangerous part, the middle, has 39 percent fatality rate.
4. The pilot and the co-pilot just cannot eat the same meal during flights. In case one pilot gets sick from food contamination, the other one can still be well enough to man the aircraft.
5. Did you know that you are about 7 per cent away from space during flights? In fact, planes can go much higher than the average altitude of 30,000, but they choose not do due to health risks.
6. Safety tests actually require dead chickens to be thrown into planes just to make sure that the windshields are able to protect pilots and passengers in cases where these aircrafts collide with a bird.
7. Turbulence has turned out to be the primary cause of non-fatal plane injuries, so it is really a must to buckle up whenever the seat belt sign tells you so. U.S. air carriers had 234 turbulence-related injuries between 1980 and 2008, and it resulted to 298 serious injuries and three deaths.
8. Takeoff and landing are the most perilous parts of a flight. The first three minutes of a flight, which comprises the takeoff and initial climb, accounts for 13 percent of fatal accidents. On the one hand, the final eight minutes of a flight, or the descent and the landing, is responsible for 48 percent of all fatal accidents.
9. If you think that the bathroom is the dirtiest place on the plane, then you are completely mistaken. That tray table in front of you has actually been adjudged as the filthiest of them all as it could host up to 2,155 colony-forming bacterial units (CFU) per square inch as compared to the toilet’s flush button that only contains 265 CFU per the same amount of space.
10. The fastest commercial plane in history, The Concorde, flew at two times the speed of sound. Achieving speeds up to 1,354 miles per hour, it once earned the record of being the fastest transatlantic flight after safely transporting passengers from New York to London in just a matter of 2 hours, 52 minutes, and 59 seconds.