There’s so much going on in airports and on board the planes that you don’t need to bother learning it all. But there are things you do want to know — yet no one will tell you about them.
Do you know, for example, why if you get off the bus and step away too much, the ground crew might ask you not to walk under the airplane wings? Or what a ‘decision altitude’ is? Or what is a reason you won’t ever see an elderly person or a child in the emergency exit row? Wanna know those and other secrets? Here they are!
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– The wings of a passenger plane are quite close to the ground, and you can hit your head on them if you’re inattentive; and second, again, if an engine starts and you’re close by, you just might be wooshed into the turbine.
– There’s an incredibly complex illumination system on the ground that helps the crew navigate the airplane, and it’s not just the red and white lights along the runway.
– A ‘decision altitude’ is a point of no return when the crew has to make a choice: either to land the aircraft or to go up and make another circle around the airport. Any lower, and there would be no going back.
– If an emergency does occur, the passenger sitting closest to the exit might have to open the door for the rest of the people on board.
– If you lean back, you might block the passenger right behind you, and in case of emergency they’ll have a much harder time evacuating.
– Regulations require that water be taken from secure sources, but not all airlines follow this rule and simply boil tap water.
– Airplanes go through a very thorough check before every flight, and there are literally no secret hiding places anyone could use.
– First thing that gets started on an airplane is not the engines — it’s the APU, or the auxiliary power unit. It’s a small additional engine located in the tail of the airplane that kickstarts the electrical systems and bleeds air for the engines and air conditioning inside the cabin.
– You’ve surely noticed how much louder the airplane becomes when it’s landing. You might think it’s the engines, but in reality that’s the reverse thrusters being deployed.
– On average, flights are becoming slower and slower with each decade. Today, for example, a flight from New York to Chicago would take about 20 minutes longer than it did in the mid-90s.
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