3 interesting facts you probably didn’t know about Planes
Planes have evolved a lot since their first inception. The vast technological advancements have created some of the best engineering designs that have defied air travel as we know it.
Whether it’s through the creation of the Concorde airliner, which at its fastest speed – 1,354 mph – was twice faster than the speed of light. Or even the introduction of jet fighters such as the F-35 aircraft, whose major advances in aircraft design, avionics, and weapon systems have sky-rocketed the aircraft industry into a new generational shift of fighter aircraft and innovations never seen before…
However, all of this aside, there are still a number of things you probably don’t know about this magnificent man-made machinery. Don’t believe us? Well, I can guarantee we’ll prove you wrong…
1) Airplanes are designed to withstand lightning strikes
For safety reasons, planes hit by lightning mid-flight undergo inspection after landing, but in most cases, the aircraft is either unharmed or sustains only minor damage.
The last commercial plane airliner that was struck by lightning, according to Scientific American, was in 1967. As a consequence of the strike, the plane’s fuel tank exploded. Since then, technological advancements have been developed to reduce this risk factor.
Indeed, airplanes are highly intricate machines. As a result of technical wiring now implemented into planes, if a lightning strike does occur, it will typically strike a sharp edge of the plane – such as a wingtip or nose. This means that electrical charges from the lightning bolt will only ever prevail around the outside of the vessel, with the electrical wiring blocking the electromagnetic fields and protecting the interior from any voltage.
Airline giants such as Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350 are amongst the few within the industry to introduce composite materials to reduce the overall electrical conductivity of the fuselage and wings to fully withstand any lightning strikes, should they occur.
So for anyone traveling during a storm, there’s really no need to worry, right?
2) You don’t need both engines to fly
Ok, some of you may all be familiar with this one.
As aforementioned, technological advancements have continued to increase the safety of airliners. They have been thoroughly manufactured and tested to withstand a range of external and internal elements that could affect the plane during flight. As such, engineers have to meticulously create a ‘back-up’ plan should fail occur.
As such, airplanes can function with only one of their engines properly working. Whilst two-engines allow pilots to reach higher altitudes, save fuel, and reach high speeds due to a reduction in friction if one engine fails then the plane can still continue to fly to safety! An engine failure does mean that the plane is going to have less power and will be forced to fly at a lower altitude – warranting an emergency landing.
The same can be said for those larger commercial liners such as the Boeing 747 – equipped with 4 engines. From a safety perspective, it is not that dangerous if one engine completely fails. Pilots have reported flying a 747 with one engine malfunctioning and continuing to the destination. Both he and his 416 passengers lived to tell the tale.
3) There is not really the safest seat on the plane
As a general rule of thumb, there is no safe seat on a plane.
While plane crashes on jetliners are rare, researchers have conducted tests to analyse where is the safest location on a plane itself. In 2012, researchers decided to take an uncrewed Boeing 727, fill it with crash test dummies and cameras, and fly it into the Mexican Desert.
As expected, the results indicated that there was no safe seat on the airliner. However, passengers at the back were recorded to have less severe injuries to those located at the front of the airliner or in the cockpit. These findings align with a TIME study of plane accidents which concluded that the middle seats in the back of the plane had the lowest fatality rate in a crash. Their research indicated that the back of the aircraft had a 32% fatality rate, compared with 39% in the middle and 38% in the front third. Although, with so many variables at play, it’s difficult to draw a definitive conclusion.
But don’t worry, crashes are incredibly rare. So on that note, enjoy your next flight!!
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