24 Facts Airline Pilots Won’t Tell You

Airline Pilots Won't Tell You

There’s quite a few things pilots won’t tell you about airplane safety. Things that you’d actually want to know. Things that could save your life.

1. Behind Closed Cockpit Doors

Do pilots sleep in there? Definitely. Sometimes it’s just a ten-minute catnap, but it happens.

2. The Little Black Box Isn’t Indestructible

If the black box is the lone survivor of almost every serious plane crash, why isn’t the entire plane made of this magic material? The answer is that a plane made of the same material – steel, that is – would be too heavy to fly. The little black box can be destroyed by the crushing weight of airplane wings or an inferno of jet fuel anyway, so really, nothing can save you.

3. Being on the Ground Does Not Equal Safety

One of the deadliest accidents in airplane history actually occurred prior to takeoff. A deadly combination of fog and mixed radio signals from the flight deck caused two planes, carrying over 600 passengers between them, to collide head-on in the middle of a runway in the infamous Tenerife Accident. Over 500 individuals died as a result of this crash.

4. Pilots Don’t Eat Airline Food

It’s true, we all suffer with muffin-shaped eggs while the pilots get to enjoy their own special meal that was prepared separately for them. The reason behind this isn’t going to make you feel any better either – it’s to limit the chance that they’ll get sick. And both the pilots are served with different meals in order to avoid Food poisoning.

5. The true story of Oxygen Masks

That if the oxygen masks drop down, you only have about 15 minutes of oxygen from the point of pulling them down. However, that is more than enough time for the pilot to take us to a lower altitude where you can breathe normally. More important – at altitude, you have 15-20 seconds before you pass out. Put yours on first, then do your kids. Passing out for a few seconds won’t harm the kids.

6. Life vest under the seat?

It is becoming a big problem, people take those life vests as a souvenir, and in the rush of the heavy flight schedules the airlines won’t check or count them, so if you are a safety freak, you had better check if your life vest is under your seat, otherwise, you can ask before they close the door and they will put a new one in the empty pocket.

7. Planes without engines can still glide for really a long time

A pilot told me if both engines fail, a plane can glide 6 nautical miles for every 5000 feet. So at 35,000 feet, a plane can glide about 42 miles without power. Its why most accidents happen landing or taking off.

8. How a Pilot approaches landing

When you experience a hard landing in bad weather it wasn’t because of a lack of pilot skills but it is in fact intentional. If the runway is covered in water the airplane has to touch down hard in order to puncture the water layer and prevent aqua planing. “Landings are nothing more than controlled crashes.”

9. The worst seats on a plane: The flight attendants’ seats. 

Have you seen the flight attendants’ seats? Those are those seats that fold and hide, and normally have 90-degree backrests, so they are just for take off and landing. There are planes now that have regular seats for the flight attendants to rest in, but in most aircraft, the only option for the flights attendants are those seats, so while every passenger has a seat, and the cockpit crew has a big seat, the flight attendants spend their flight time sitting in low seats and sometimes on the floor of the food galleries of the planes. If you want to check, just walk to the gallery and you’ll see them there as though camping.

10. They carry only a little bit more fuel than needed.

The plane carries enough fuel for its trip, and a little bit more to be safe, so if sometimes you see a plane just delaying the descent and flying around, it well might be a control tower instruction to wait or the pilot is just jettisoning the extra fuel that may cause a hazard for landing.

11. How to tell from the ground that the plane is being hijacked

If the plane is being hijacked when the pilot lands they will leave the wing flaps up that slow the plane down, this is to signal the airport that there is something happening in the plane.

12. Seats on the plane facing forward.

Main cabins have been forever laid out with the seats facing forward, sort of like in a car or a bus, but the truth is that the safest position is facing backward, also the seat belts are not the most efficient, the best are the cross chest style, sort of like the one the flight attendants use in their jump seats and even the car racing pilots, even your personal car has safer safety belts than a plane has.

13. Don’t drink water on Airplane unless it came from a bottle

When you want to quench your thirst on an airplane, make sure the water  you get came from a bottle.  As the Huffington Post notes, there’s a  strong likelihood you’ll get some pretty bad stuff inside if it was  obtained from the tap.

14. You may not be getting the airline you paid for

You may go to an airline website and buy a ticket, pull up to its desk at the curb, and get onto an airplane that has a similar name painted on it, but half the time, you’re really on a regional airline. The regionals aren’t held to the same safety standards as the majors: Their pilots aren’t required to have as much training and experience, and the public doesn’t know that.

15. If you’re a nervous flier, book a morning flight

The heating of the ground later causes bumpier air, and it’s much more likely to thunderstorm in the afternoon.

16. Germfest

The seats, the tray table, the seat pocket and even the little safety booklet with the fun cartoons – all covered in germs! Airplanes receive so much traffic with travelers constantly coming and going, these tricky areas receive less of a thorough cleaning than you may have thought. But if you really think about it, you just watched the other passengers exit the plane you’re about to get on – the flight attendants can’t possibly have had time to do a thorough cleanse.

17. The smoothest place to sit is often over or near the wing

The bumpiest place to sit is in the back. A plane is like a seesaw. If you’re in the middle, you don’t move as much. The general flow of air in any airplane is from front to back. So if you’re really concerned about breathing the freshest possible air or not getting too hot, sit as close to the front as you can. Planes are generally warmest in the back.

18. Complaints?

The airlines are more concerned about your complaints on twitter than on their websites or their customer surveys.

19. It’s updrafts, not turbulence, we really worry about

A plane flies into a massive updraft, which you can’t see on the radar at night, and it’s like hitting a giant speed bump at 500 miles an hour. It throws everything up in the air and then down very violently. That’s not the same as turbulence, which bounces everyone around for a while. Pilots find it perplexing that so many people are afraid of turbulence. It’s all but impossible for turbulence to cause a crash.

20. The portable electronics interference is not entirely true.

The airlines are more concerned that your mobile or portable electronic device will fly away from your hand in case of turbulence or upward winds and hit somebody on the head. They say that little things inside a plane under some bad conditions can fly at speeds up to 60 miles an hour and that will leave a mark.

21. Every landing is a good landing.

Do not complain about rough landings, all pilots always say that every landing is a good landing.

22. Never flush the toilet while sitting on it. 

The vacuum system that sucks out the business you dump into an aircraft toilet has enough force to suck your intestines out of your body and even crush your bones, so never flush an aircraft toilet while sitting.

23. Flight attendants get very upset when you step up at meal serving time.

I was told by a flight attendant once that the worst that a passenger can do is to step up while they are serving the food with the carts. She told me it is a shared feeling that it feels very uncomfortable having a passenger standing behind them moving one step at a time while the cart is advancing through the corridor.

24. Jetlag? 

Jetlag exists, it is true that it causes an exhausting feeling and you want to go and sleep to get back to normal, but most people don’t really know the symptoms of jetlag and blame anything that feels wrong after a flight on it, but the truth is that most of the time it is a virus, a bacterium or even food poison you get on a plane, it is the highest-risk environment in public transportation.

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