Whether you have a fear of flying or love jet-setting, how well do you know your airplane facts?
Modern aviation historically started with the infamous Wright Brothers, but is that the whole truth? Some scholars attribute the first successful flight, not the Wright brothers, but to Brazilian engineer, Alberto Santos-Dumont.
In fact, at the turn of the century, countries throughout the world claimed to have made that first historic plane flight. New Zealand’s Richard Pearse claimed his monoplane was the first in 1903, while Germany’s Gustave Whitehead, said his invention was the first plane to take flight at the turn of the century.
More countries have claimed to be the first pioneers of modern aviation, but this isn’t the only fascinating fact about aviation. Read on for even more fun facts about airplanes!
1. Lightning Strike Proof
Nearly every commercial airplane is struck by lightning at least once a year!
Before you swear off airplanes for good, you have nothing to fear. Airplanes are designed to withstand lightning strikes without damage. Your plane could be struck by lightning, and you’d never know it.
Planes are designed in such a way that electrically-charged bolts can travel through the plane’s engineering without crashing the plane. The last lightning-related problem was in 1963!
2. Dim Lights Aren’t Just for Sleeping
Airplane crews dimming cabin lights may not seem consequential. You assume they’re just turning off the lights to help you sleep, right? Wrong!
While dimming the lights does help you sleep, it’s not the reason why flight attendants do it. The point is to help your eyes adjust to the dark in case of an emergency. That way, when the lights shut off, you won’t be stumbling around in the dark because your eyes are already adjusted.
This revelation is one of the most surprising fun facts about airplanes.
3. Meet the Most Expensive Plane in the World
Airplanes are notoriously expensive – like multi-million dollar expensive. However, the most expensive planes in the world easily exceed that.
Currently, the priciest plane on the planet is Air Force One. Air Force One has always been expensive, but after its current renovations, it will fetch a mind-boggling price tag of $3.9 billion!
Next in line is the B-2 Spirit Bomber at a hefty $2.1 billion and the Airbus A380 at an impressive 445 million dollars.
These are just a few examples. Check out the prices for new and used aircrafts to see what’s happening in the aviation market!
4. Why Are There Still Ashtrays in the Bathroom?
No one smokes cigarettes on airplanes anymore – or do they?
Cigarettes were banned decades ago, but passengers are still human, and mistakes happen. The reason airplanes include ashtrays is to encourage smokers to toss their cigarettes in the ashtray and not the garbage can.
A lit cigarette smoldering in a trashcan is a more significant safety hazard than an ashtray.
Don’t let this revelation encourage you to enjoy a cigarette in-flight. If you do, you’ll get slapped with a significant fine.
5. Why Airplane Cuisine isn’t Amazing
Airlines aren’t exactly known for their in-flight cuisine, but don’t fault the chef. High altitudes and cabin pressure change the way food tastes. Your favorite soft drink may not taste as sweet, while salty snacks feel like a sodium punch to the gut.
Changes in humidity also affect food, making it bland and less enjoyable. If you want to enjoy your food, eat a couple of hours before boarding your flight.
6. What Are Those White Lines in the Sky?
Remember looking up at the sky and marveling at those white cloudy streaks planes left behind?
There’s a science behind those familiar white lines. It’s actually condensation!
Airplanes leave these condensation “trails” as the engines release water vapors in the air. Once hot vapors are released into the cold air, they create white streaks in the sky. The industry term for this is contrails.
7. Fear of Flying? Sit in the Back
The main reason why people avoid flying is fear, otherwise known as aviophobia. Fear of plane crashes, heights, hijacking, and terrorism are common reasons for aviophobia.
While dying on a plane is extremely rare, there is one thing you can do to increase your chances of survival if an accident occurs. According to studies, sitting toward the back of the plane will increase your chances of survival by 40%.
An aisle seat can help you get away quickly should an accident arise. You’re less likely to get sucked out of a plane while sitting in an aisle seat.
8. Fear of Flying is Common
A fear of flying is one of the most common phobias. However, one is more likely to perish in a car accident than in a plane.
The chances of dying on a plane are one in eleven million, while the likelihood of dying in a car crash is one in five thousand.
Most plane crashes, when they do occur, only happen during takeoff or during the last few minutes before landing.
9. English is the Universal Flight Language
If you jet-set around the world, you’ll notice something familiar. All airlines, regardless of their location, are required to speak English. English is the official international language for all airlines.
All pilots, co-pilots, flight attendants, and air control workers are required to speak English, in addition to the native language of their location.
10. The True Story About Women in Aviation
History books often credit Amelia Earhart as the first female aviation pioneer. However, women first made their mark on the aviation world in 1911 when Harriet Quimby took flight.
Quimby became the first licensed female pilot in the United States. She was also the first woman to fly over the English Channel.
Earhart became the first female to fly by herself over the Atlantic Ocean. Amelia Earhart when on to form the first female pilot organization called The Ninety-Nines.
Take Flight with Fun Facts about Airplanes!
These fun facts about airplanes are just the beginning. Put your research cap on and discover even more fascinating tidbits about aviation.
Knowledge is power, and you never know when you could use a few useful facts. Bookmark this blog to discover more information to enrich your life!