On being ejected from a crash landing aircraft and surviving

Friday, 6 September, 2013

The chances of surviving being ejected, or flung out, from a crashing aircraft are pretty remote, though thankfully the chances of being in such a position in the first place are likewise remote, but those few who make it through such a catastrophe alive, often struggle to understand how they withstood the ordeal.

Modern commercial jets can carry hundreds of people 10 times faster than you can safely drive on a city street, which is 10 times faster than you can probably walk. Though millions of people witness it everyday, the transaction of physics between an airplane and gravity is unimaginably violent. If your puny body ever actually came face to face with what lies beyond your window seat, you’d die almost instantly, via several horrible mechanisms – hyperbaric trauma, friction, blunt force, hypoxia – competing to be the thing that actually killed you.

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Do we not tip flight attendants because their salaries are sky high?

Thursday, 29 August, 2013

Not a topic I’ve ever given much though to… why don’t we tip air cabin crew? To take a stab at the question though, I’d have said it’s because I’m paying enough, by way of an air fare, to be flying in the first place, so why should I have to fork out anymore for the privilege?

London based author Kathleen Barry, writer of Femininity in Flight, however advances an all together different explanation for the absence of the practice in the air:

The answer is, in short, because tips were for Black people. Black porters on trains and boats were tipped as a matter of course but, according to Barry, tipping a White person would have been equivalent to an insult. A journalist, writing in 1902, captured the thinking of the time when he expressed shock and dismay that “any native-born American could consent” to accepting a tip. “Tips go with servility,” he said. Accepting one was equivalent to affirming “I am less than you.” This interpretation of the meaning of a gratuity, alongside airlines’ need to inspire confidence and simple racism, is why we don’t tip flight attendants today.

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Could you anchor down a 747 aircraft that was trying to take off?

Friday, 16 August, 2013

This sounds like a physics exam question. If you ever wanted to stop a 747 aircraft taking off, by trying to restrain it with some cable, how thick would that cable need to be, assuming the craft’s engines were at full power? If you happen, therefore, to be sitting a physics test, then the good news is someone has worked out the answer.

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When airline flight numbers take on a value of their own

Friday, 12 July, 2013

I didn’t think flight numbers might, or might not, be something to boast about, but it seems the lower the flight number, the more popular, and prestigious, the flight you are on:

In general, the lower the number, the more “prestigious” the flight route is for that particular airline. One or two-digit numbers are typically assigned to popular routes – usually of the long-distance variety – such as United Flight 44 from Newark to London. If you find yourself on a flight with a low number, it’s a pretty safe bet that your flight is a regular moneymaker for the airline.

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Malta by candlelight

Monday, 24 June, 2013

What do you get when you combine a nice beach – in this case Gnejna Bay, on the west coast of Malta Island – some 400 candles, a pleasant evening, and a little stop motion photography? A clever ad for Air Malta, that’s what.

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Fly the sometime congested airways

Wednesday, 5 June, 2013

Visualisations of flight paths across the world, as developed by Michael Markieta… some of that air space sure is busy.

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You cause quite a stir each time the aircraft you’re flying on lands

Monday, 29 April, 2013

The vortex created each time an aircraft lands comes into view as an Airbus A340 touches down on the runway at Zurich airport, Switzerland’s largest international airport, thanks to the presence of fog.

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Do you follow the crowd when deciding where to sit on an aircraft?

Friday, 19 April, 2013

Air travellers have a preference for selecting window seats on the right hand side of an aeroplane, according to an analysis by British Airways of passengers flying on their 747 aircraft.

Window seats are generally favoured over aisle ones, the research found, with six per cent more bookings. It also revealed that fliers will slightly favour the right hand side of the aircraft over the left, with 54 per cent of passengers opting for that side.

This means I’m definitely weird… I’m usually on the left hand side, (it’s just where I seem to end up) and in an aisle seat (which I often request though, especially for longer flights).

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I flew all night and this is what I saw

Friday, 15 March, 2013

What’s a cinematographer to do while flying across the US, in this case between San Francisco and Philadelphia? Film the flight, of course.

Via Devour.

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For the uninitiated, how to land an aeroplane

Tuesday, 12 February, 2013

The hardest part of flying an aeroplane is landing, that I learned from my days buzzing about in Cessna 152s. Misjudge your height, approach speed, cross winds, and, well, you may have to overshoot, or go around, and hopefully you’ll have that luxury open to you.

Landing a craft much larger than a Cessna 152, with or without flight experience, is likely another matter however. In the event then you ever hear the dreaded words “does anyone aboard have piloting experience” while on a flight, hopefully this guide to landing an aeroplane if you are not a pilot will be helpful:

Anyone who plays with a flight simulator should get to this point without any instructions, but now things will get stupidly fast. Adrenaline and not knowing what you are doing are the main reasons for this. To land you will have to forget everything you know about xplane of microsoft’s flight simulator. Using small movements you will keep the runway between your legs. Be patient, do only small corrections, if you over correct you will start zigzagging. Airplanes are like kayaks, they are always skidding and inertia make things take a bit longer, you need to wait for you input to make a difference. (this impression is actually caused by our notion of space).

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