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For decades prior to B.o.B, aka Bobby Ray, (he actually thinks the world is flat though… seriously) singing about his love for airplanes, airplanes have roamed the skies. These marvels of human engineering finally provided humans with the ability to take flight. Although thousands of them are flying around the globe while you read this, the first airplane was flown by the Wright brothers in 1903. That’s over a hundred years ago! World War I served as a catapult for aviation development as these flying machines demonstrated great potential as machines of war and observation. A few decades later in World War II, aircraft had a presence in all major battles.
For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.Leonardo da Vinci
Below are some cool plane facts and things you may not have known about these incredible flying machines!
1. The oxygen in those emergency oxygen masks lasts for about 15 minutes
Although 15 minutes doesn’t seem like a long time, its more than enough for pilots to bring aircraft down to a safer altitude, where the masks are no longer needed. More time to read more plane facts!
2. A Boeing 747 has about 150-175 miles of wiring inside it
Oh man… don’t even want to try untangling that :).
3. A woman from Sweden, tried to smuggle 75 live snakes onto an airplane in her bra. She also had six lizards under her shorts. Now I know where the idea for Snakes on a Plane came from…
4. Pilots fall asleep on the job all the time
Maybe this should be in our scary plane facts list. Who’s flying the plane while my pilot naps!?
Have no fear, autopilot is here.
According to a 2017 report, 43% of pilots admitted to accidentally falling asleep while manning the plane. Constant changes to their circadian rhythm can cause pilots to lose track of their day/night cycle and make them more prone to falling asleep than someone who’s grounded.
5. Airplane air is really really dry
The humidity in the Mojave Desert is around 50% while on an a flight this drops to just 20%. There is a good reason for this.
The air outside a plane is very cold and dry. This means it can’t hold as much water as warmer air. Air from the outside is warmed up and filtered into the cabin nearly 20 times an hour. Although this is mixed with cabin air, the humidity drops fast during flight.
Some new planes like the Boeing: 787 Dreamliner can be shipped with humidifiers to make the flight more… bearable.
6. All international pilots must know some English
The international Civil Aviation Association put into place rules that stipulated all pilots flying internationally must know English in order to avoid fatal communication errors.
7. Pilots and copilots eat different meals
Just in-case there is some food contamination, pilots and copilots must eat different meals for dinner. That way if one pilot gets sick, the other can still fly the plane.
8. Man broke the sound barrier in 1947
Legendary pilot Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in 1947. After serving in WWII, Yeager remained in the Air Force and served as a test pilot. After another test pilot (Chalmers Goodlin) demanded $150,000 ($1.6 million today), Chuck was selected to fly instead. Chalmers sure missed out, he could’ve been in our plane facts list :).
Two days before his flight, he fell off a horse and broke two ribs. The pain was so severe that Chuck closed the plane’s hatch with a broom handle. Shockingly he didn’t inform the Air Force prior to his flight.
9. The Concorde flew at twice the speed of sound
The Concorde was a supersonic passenger airliner which last flew commercially in 2003. Reaching speeds of Mach 2.04, it first flew in 1976. Air France and British Airways were the only two airlines to fly this Airbus build plane.
A Concorde flight from London to New York took just 2 hours and 52 minutes. In comparison, flights today take 7 hours for the same route. To be fair, a Concorde ticket cost 30 times as much.
10. You don’t need both engines to fly!
The Boeing 787 has a 330 minute ETOPS (Extended Operations) certification. This means if one of the engines dies, the 787 can safely fly for five and a half hours!