Thursday, April 14, 2016

Here are some lesser-known facts about flying

Check out 9 things about aeroplanes you always wondered about but never knew...

Flying might not be all that smooth sailing, though the fun of it is worth the price. Yet have you wondered about the reason behind numerous safety norms that are followed when you board a flight? If not, get familiarised with some surprising facts about air travel.

Why do airlines dim the cabin lights for take-off and landing?

This is a precautionary measure that allows passengers' eyes to adjust quickly to darkness. This is especially important during emergency situations, for passengers to maintain situational awareness to expedite escape.

Why do airplanes have blinking lights on their wings?

Known as strobe lights, these are bright, flashing lights on the wingtips that serve to augment the airplane's visibility at night. They are visible from miles away, and are turned off when operating in proximity to other aircraft as they can cause temporary blindness.

Why do pilots fly around with the landing lights turned on?

If you are a keen observer, you might have noticed that pilots keep the landing lights on for several minutes after takeoff and before landing. Landing lights are so bright that they also make great anticollision lights. Mind you, these lights can be seen from miles away, even in daytime.

Why do airline safety procedures require you to avoid using the toilet during take-off and landing?

Most of us know that take-off and landing are the occasions for most aircraft accidents. The two reasons behind avoiding toilets are: 1) Toilets are not fitted with seatbelts and have hard, sharp surfaces that could injure you in case of an accident or turbulence, 2) Toilets are an enclosed space that could be blocked or jammed closed during an accident, and could become a death-trap in case of fire.

Why do airplanes use nautical miles instead of kilometres?

Ships and airlines use this unit of measurement because their captain wants to know how many degrees of the Earth's circumference he/she has traveled and this also helps him/her to work out their exact geographical location at a given time.

Why are the tips of some airplane wings bent upward?

The reason behind this is that they help stop air below the wing from 'leaking' to the lower pressure region above the wing. The bent part also doesn't present an obstacle to the forward movement of the wing, or during sideways movement of the aircraft in the event of a sideslip manoeuvre. Apart from this, winglets give 3-6 per cent fuel savings when cruising.

Why do some planes leave white trails?

These trails are called contrails (short form of 'condensation trails') and are formed when the water in jet exhaust mixes with wet cold air, condenses and freezes into ice crystals. But nowadays, it's rare,except the deliberate ones used at air shows.

What's the idea behind lifting window shades during takeoff or landing?

Raising the window shades has two purposes: 1) Your eyes adjust to the same lighting conditions that exist outside the plane so that if there is a need to evacuate in a hurry, your eyes will already be adjusted to outside conditions; 2) If an accident occurs during takeoff or landing, there is more visual access to the outside to know what's going on. Awesome facts you didn't know about flying Check out 9 things about aeroplanes you always wondered about but never knew.

Why do airplanes extend wing flaps?

The flaps increase the off-ground lifting capacity of the aircraft without requiring a corresponding increase in angle of attack. In simple terms, this means the airplane can fly at slower speeds than it could without its flaps. This plays a pivotal role in landing.