Top 10 Things You May Not Know About Planes
Since the Wright Brothers, the old wood and cloth flying machines have continued to advance in structure, engine capability, distance, technology, service, amenities, speed, and comfort.

Dan Taylor | Jul 18, 2018

Since the Wright Brothers, the old wood and cloth flying machines have continued to advance in structure, engine capability, distance, technology, service, amenities, speed, and comfort. Machinery, appearance and pricing are a few of the other changes we've experienced in flight. We did some research to find a few largely unknown facts about airplanes.

10. Airplanes Have a Design that Survives Lightning Strikes
They are big metal things in the sky for heaven's sake, they regularly get struck by lightning, as a matter of fact, we believe a hit occurs once per every 1,000 flight hours. Yes, the last time a plane was downed by lightning was 1963. Engineering traits allow the bolt to race through the aircraft and right back out again, typically without any damage.

9. There is No Safest Seat on a Plane
According to a 35-year TIME study conducted via the use of the Federal Aviation Association's (FAA) database, they reported that the middle seats in the back of the plane had the lowest rate of dying in the case of a crash.
The back one-third of seats had a 32 percent fatality rate
The middle one-third of seats had a 36 percent death rate
The front one-third of seats had a 38 percent mortality rate
The FAA states that a "safest seat" does not exist on a plane. First, crashes are relatively rare, and with so many variables at play in the event, there is really no way to predict the safest seat.

8. Some Planes Have Secret Bedrooms for the Crew
The Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner are made with tiny bedrooms to help with fatigue, especially on longer flights, which can require a 16-hour workday. Usually accessed via a hidden staircase, the bedrooms are equipped with six to ten beds, a bath, very low ceilings and at times entertainment. Wonder if they are co-ed? LOL

7. The Tires are Designed Not to Pop on Landing
Certainly, plane tires are a little different from car tires, but you change them the same way! Aircraft tires are inflated to 200 PSI and take the hit to the ground at speeds in excess of 170 miles per hour. These babies are built to take up to 38 tons of weight upon landing.

6. The Reason Lights Dim at Landing
If you've noticed, the cabin lights dim when a plane lands at night, it's because if the aircraft has a bad landing, which is unlikely passenger's eyes will have already adjusted to the darkness in case they have to evacuate. Who knew? Also, note that the window shades are in a raised position at landing, so passengers can see which side of the plane is the safest exit in the event of a crisis.

5. Who Needs Two Engines to Fly?
Not us peeps! Every commercial plane can fly with just one engine, it requires less fuel; however, it will have a reduced range. Planes that fly through uninhabited areas, the Artic for example or oceans need certification from the FAA for "extended range twin operations" or (ETOPS). That measurement determines how long a plane can fly with one engine. It's worth a mention that many planes can fly with no engine at all because of their aeronautical engineering.

4. Ashtrays are in the Bathrooms
Since smoking is banned, what's up with having ashtrays in the restrooms? Well, the people who build planes figure that smokers will completely ignore all the "no smoking" signage and enjoy smoke anyway and they just hope that if they do, it's in the outhouse! The ashtray allows them to more safely dispose of the butts in a place that isn't as fire oriented as the trash can. By the way, if you do get caught smoking, expect a healthy fine to go with the unhealthy habit.

3. Bad Tasting Food
If you agree with the poor taste reputation, please don't blame the chef. According to Cornell University, there is a scientific reason; it's the plane's fault! A plane's environment takes some of the sweet out of sweetness and adds some salt to the saltiness. The low humidity in a cabin caused by the recycled dry air tends to dull our sense of both taste and smell. Interesting, huh?

2. We Need Air
It's handy the way those oxygen masks automatically deploy if there is a loss in cabin pressure. Did anyone ever mention that there are only 15 minutes of air available? Yikes, that doesn't sound like enough, but they say it's more than adequate. But don't despair, friends, if the cabin loses pressure, the pilot is trained to drop the plane's altitude to less than 10,000 feet and at that level, we can breathe on our own. And the descent takes far less than 15 minutes to complete.

1. Why Do Planes Leave Trails in the Sky?
Contrails (the name of the trails) follow a plane in flight because of condensation made when the engines release water vapor via their combustion process. And when hot water vapor hits the cooler air in the upper atmosphere, the result is fluffy cloud-like white lines. Much like we can see our breath on a chilly day.

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