15 Lesser-Known Facts About Commercial Aircraft

Source: Chris Waits / Flickr

Flying is the most convenient way to travel. Even 5-year-old children have thousands of miles of flying under their belt. With such experience, any American would confidently say that they know everything about planes and flying. But we can bet that you don’t know the facts and trivia we will share with you here. The aviation industry has many secrets. No, we don’t mean shady conspiracy theories. We talk about cold hard facts about airplanes and the crew operating them.

#1 Airplane Crew Has Sleeping Quarters on Board

Imagine that you are traveling from New York to an exotic destination in Bali or Indonesia. You get to sleep a lot during the flight, which usually lasts around 24 hours. But what about the flight attendants and the pilots?

Source: YouTube @watchJojo

Guess what – they have their own sleeping quarters in the plane! The flight has an adequate crew to allow rotation. Thus, you can be sure that a well rested pilot is on duty, while the flight attendants are ready to assist you.

#2 Did You Notice that Airplane Windows Have a Hole?

Now, let’s focus our attention on the plane windows. Look at the very bottom … Right there, do you notice a tiny hole? It is also one of the almost invisible but extreme features of an airplane.

Source: Chris Waits / Flickr

The fact is that the plane window consists of three panes. This helps maintain a comfortable pressure in the cabin. Meanwhile, the pressure outside is very low. The tiny hole helps balance the air pressure between the cabin and the gap between the window panes.

#3 All Planes Have Oval Windows – and This Is Not Just Because They Look Nice

Since we are looking at the airplane window, you may wonder: why do they look the same on any plane? It doesn’t matter if it is a Boeing or an Airbus – the windows have an oval shape.

Source: Pexels

This design ensures the safety of the plane. Round shapes distribute pressure more evenly across the entire surface. Thus, any rectangular corner would be a weak spot. The huge difference in pressure between the inside and outside of the plane could cause it to crack.

#4 One More Thing about Plane Windows – Why Do You Have to Raise the Blinds?

We will step away from plane windows after we share one more fact. During takeoff and just before landing, flight attendants will ask you to raise all blinds.

Source: Pexels

This is for your own safety. In case of emergency evacuation, the crew outside the plane must be able to see inside and identify the best paths to remove all passengers. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the crew must do this in just 90 seconds. So, being able to see everyone inside the plane is vital.

#5 Is Airplane Food Really That Bad? Not Exactly…

Anyone on a long-distance flight knows how tasteless airplane food is. Only sheer hunger makes you eat it. Would you be surprised to hear that you would actually enjoy the same food if you ate it in the airport lounge?

Source: Pixabay

The fact is that, inside an airplane, even the food prepared by a famous chef would taste bland. The reason for this is that your taste buds are numbed by the humidity and pressure inside the plane.

#6 Lights Dim during Takeoff and Landing for a Serious Reason

Have you ever wondered why the pilot dims the lights inside the cabin during takeoff and landing? Many people believe that this helps passengers relax. While this may be true for many, the real reason is more serious.

Source: Pixabay

In reality, dim lights help your eyes adjust to the darkness. This can save your life during an emergency, when the electricity is not working anymore and you have to exit the plane without lights. Also, dim lights make emergency path lights and exit signs more visible.

#7 The Tiny Winglet Plays a Huge Part in Fuel Usage

Let us start with the outside of the plane. As you look closely, you can see that the wing ends with a winglet. It looks rather nice, but it is not there for aesthetic reasons

Source: Pixabay

In fact, that winglet has a very important role. It helps the plane use less fuel during the flight. How does it do it? The winglet breaks vortices which appear naturally at the edges of the wings. This reduces the induced drag on the plane and reduces fuel use by up to 5%.

#8 Before a Plane Takes Off, It Needs Some Assistance

As you are waiting for your flight to board and look outside, you may notice a large vehicle pushing an airplane. No, it is not being towed for repairs. The vehicle is simply performing a standard maneuver called “pushback”.

Source: YouTube

This maneuver is necessary to push the plane out of its parking position. If the pilot did this, the high speed in reverse would create a lot of flying debris. This debris could hurt ground staff, enter the airplane engines and damage the airport terminal.

#9 Airplanes Can Keep Flying Even After an Engine Fails

Speaking of airplane engines, in movies you usually see everything going haywire when one of them fails. The plane starts shaking, and there are lots of beeping noises and emergency lights flashing.

Source: Pixabay

In reality, chances are that you were aboard a plane that suffered an engine failure. But you didn’t notice anything worrisome. The reason for this is that planes have several engines. When one of them stops working, the others are able to carry everyone safely to the destination.

#10 You Cannot Lock Yourself in a Plane Restroom

Everyone expects complete privacy in the restroom, as it is normal. But safety aboard is more important than social niceties. Thus, plane lavatory doors can be unlocked from the outside.

Source: YouTube @SandorTarcnozi

In case someone is taken ill inside the lavatory, the cabin crew must be able to remove them and give them first aid. Also, the flight attendants must be able to evacuate everyone in case of emergency.

#11 Here’s One Rare, but Possible Lavatory Emergency: Getting Stuck on a Plane Toilet

One instance when the flight attendants must get to a passenger in the lavatory to help them may appear far-fetched. But, it is technically possible to get stuck on an airplane toilet.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This happens when a passenger flushes the toilet while still sitting on it. Airplane toilets use vacuum, rather than water, for flushing. It is unlikely to be unable to free yourself from the seat. Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to stand up before you flush.

#12 Getting Bored Aboard? You Cannot Use Your Mobile Phone

When we get bored, we turn to our mobile phones to stream music, browse our social media pages or send a quick email. However, you are not allowed to do this on a plane.

Source: Pixabay

The Federal Communications Commission restricts cell phone use during flights, as it can interfere with cell service on the ground. Also, various electronic devices (including mobile phones) may interfere with essential airplane systems and devices.

#13 The Black Box Is Actually Bright Orange and Indestructible

Since we are talking about essential airplane devices, one of them is the black box. The fact is that its actual name is a flight data recorder. And it is not black, but a vivid orange.

Source: Wikipedia By @YSSYguy

In case of disasters, rescue teams need to identify it among other debris. Also, since it must remain intact for investigators to analyze it, the black box is made to withstand extreme conditions. It is designed to survive an impact of 3,400 Gs and temperatures above 1,000 Celsius (1,830 Fahrenheit).

#14 The Seats Must Be Upright during Landing and Takeoff for an Important Reason

When you board the plane, you can’t wait to recline your seat and relax. But the flight assistants will tell you to keep it upright during takeoff. Also, you will have to bring your seat back to the upright position just before landing.

Source: Pixabay

This is not merely to inconvenience you. In case of emergency, passengers can be evacuated faster if all seats are in the upright position.

#15 What Are the Chances of Lightning Striking a Plane?

A person’s odds of being struck by lightning are less than one in a million. However, if you happen to be aboard a plane, you may have been indirectly struck by lightning several times so far.

Source: Reddit

However, you needn’t worry! Plane designers and engineers take this possibility into account. Thus, all the systems in a plane are properly grounded. Plus, you know that you are in the capable hands of highly trained pilots, flight attendants and ground staff. So enjoy your next flight with peace of mind!

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Charlotte Clad

Written by Charlotte Clad

Charlotte Clad is a brilliant writer who possesses the remarkable ability to craft content that goes viral and leaves an indelible mark on readers. With an innate passion for storytelling and an unwavering commitment to her craft, Charlotte has consistently pushed the boundaries of creativity to captivate audiences worldwide.

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