For those who love aviation, flying is a passion and a life pursuit. It can also be completely baffling and amazing. Here are thirteen random facts about flight and flying that are guaranteed to make you think differently about your next trip in the sky.
Fun Facts about 747s: You could probably fill a small book with interesting facts about the Boeing 747. The wingspan of the 747 is longer than the distance of the Wright Brothers' first flight.
Food Tastes Different Under Pressure: Under cabin pressure conditions, that is. German airline Lufthansa noticed that people seemed to order a lot of tomato juice in-flight, while they normally wouldn't drink it on the ground. So they commissioned a study to look into whether food tasted different in-flight.
He'll Have the Chicken: Continuing along the planes-and-food theme is the fact that on commercial airliner flights, the pilot and co-pilot never eat the same meal. This is for the safety of the craft: if the pilot is laid low by food poisoning from the pasta, the co-pilot should still be well enough to continue the flight.
We'll Take Two Planes: It's probably not surprising to learn that the President and Vice President of the United States never fly together--nor do they fly withthe Speaker of the House of Representatives. As the first, second, and third in the chain of succession, a craft carrying any two of these passengers could lead to serious disruption to the U.S. government if it crashed.
Flying Dry: According to one estimate, you can lose about two cups of water from your body for every hour you spend flying--most of it breathed out through the mouth.
While estimates of water loss during flight vary, it's well-known that flying causes dehydration in passengers, which can lead to deep-vein thrombosis (a/k/a blood clots) on long-haul flights. Drink water before, during, and after a long flight.
Plane Life Isn't Measured in Years: Airliners' lifespans aren't determined by years. Instead, they're determined by the number of pressurizations the plane undergoes.
Every time a plane is pressurized during flight, it causes stress on the plane's fuselage. Over time, this stress causes irreparable metal fatigue and cracks. An approximate rule of thumb is 75,000 pressurizations per aircraft. In human terms, this works out to about 20-25 years for most planes.