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One thing I guess a lot of people wonder is: what happens you flush the toilet in an aeroplane?

Does it fall out the belly of the plane and disintegrate? :)

A kiwi woman complains that "aeroplanes are taking a s**t on her driveway", beneath the flight path. Is there any way this might actually happen?

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I think it is stored and then removed from the tanks at the next stop.. –  Fabrizio Mazzoni Mar 17 at 5:03
    
Obviously, not thrown on people! but collected and replaced after landing –  Mukul Kumar Mar 17 at 10:37
    
See gizmodo.com/5953877/… for a good article. –  Terry Sep 30 at 6:53

2 Answers 2

up vote 13 down vote accepted

I can speak for the most common commercial models (the 7x7s, A3xxs and the like) via an engineer friend. All of these models flush into a tank which is emptied on the turnaround.

For Vulcans, I can speak with first hand experience. Each crew member had a stainless steel "pee tube", a funnel, which fed into a rubber bladder. They are emptied and cleaned during the after flight inspection.

I was changing a radio under the rear crew table where the electronics, navigator and radar operator sat. This involved squeezing down behind the seats to lie under the table, disconnecting and unfastening the radio, hauling onto your chest then pushing it up onto one of the seats and reversing the process to get out from under the table.

As I pushed the radio up onto the seat, I knocked one of the pee tubes and bladders out of it's clip holder which then emptied the contents onto me and the radio.

The bladder had not been emptied - and the aircraft had been in the hangar for 3 weeks!

Of course, it was my job to clean up the mess - lots of french chalk as urine is very corrosive to airframes.

The radio also needed writing up so I tagged it as "suspect urine ingress".

The same radio came back to me with a tag attached saying (and this might work only for non-American English speakers) - "are you taking the p*ss?".

Yeuch.

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Yes in America we use piss as a slang for urine as well. Nice answer BTW, I love answers that include some personal experience. (Even if it is a stinky situation). –  p1l0t Mar 17 at 20:01
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@p1l0t Actually "taking the piss" is british slang, roughly translating to: "are you shitting me?" see ELU –  BinaryTox1n Mar 25 at 21:15
    
As opposed to taking a pisser.. –  p1l0t Mar 26 at 20:13

It is stored and then disposed of when plane touches down.

From Yahoo! Answers and Wikipedia: Aircraft lavatory.

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Could we find a better source than that? –  codesparkle Mar 17 at 6:22
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@codesparkle As it happens to be correct I don't think a "better" source is really required, but if you'd like an additional source there was a Slate article on this some time back. –  voretaq7 Mar 17 at 6:39
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@codesparkle apart from aircraft manuals? –  jwenting Mar 17 at 9:28
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there's also the ubiquitous MythBusters and their Blue Ice episode –  falstro Mar 17 at 12:22
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@voretaq7 For people who know it's correct, no source is required. For people who don't know whether it's correct or not, Yahoo! Answers isn't a useful source, as it's barely better than "Some guy on the internet said X." So Citing Yahoo! Answers doesn't really help anyone. –  David Richerby Mar 22 at 17:02

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