Questions tagged [airliner]

An airliner is a large, commercial aircraft operated by an airline for transporting people and/or cargo.

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96
votes
15answers
71k views

Why are planes generally painted white?

When planes come off the assembly line at the factory, they're green: So why are most painted white? Surely a darker colour would hide dirt better? Is there a reason planes are traditionally white? ...
79
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8answers
17k views

Why do aircraft models end their life as freighters?

There seems to be a tendency that aircraft models are more long-lived for cargo than for passenger service. For example, both the A300 and MD-11 are all but extinct in scheduled passenger service, ...
76
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4answers
22k views

Has any passenger airliner ever offered forward-facing windows?

The empty, dolphin-like, forehead of the A380 seems like it would be an amazing place for the first and/or business class bar, especially if it had forward-facing windows. I realize in the A380's ...
74
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4answers
26k views

How did the 9/11 hijackers find their way to New York City?

It is quite well known that the airplane hijackers on 9/11 were not professional pilots. So, my question is how some people who didn't have any experience of navigating the airplanes could find their ...
71
votes
6answers
23k views

Why are fuel tanks in the wings filled first, and why are they used last?

When fueling airliners, why is fuel filled first in the tanks in the wings and then the center tanks? And why do they use fuel from the center tanks first and then from the tanks in the wings? From ...
64
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3answers
56k views

What is the purpose of the sharp pods under airliner wings?

What are the pods with the sharp trailing edges underneath the wings of large airliners, as shown in the image below? My best guess would be fuel tanks
64
votes
10answers
76k views

Why do jet engines get better fuel efficiency at high altitudes?

I'm told that this is true, but I can't imagine why. It seems like the fact that there is less air would make the engines less efficient... But that probably just shows how little I know about jet ...
58
votes
3answers
22k views

What are these things hanging off the trailing edge of the wing?

What are these things hanging off the trailing edge of the wing? I've seen them in almost all of the aircraft I've flown in, and can't remember if they're exclusively Boeing or Airbus.
57
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8answers
65k views

Can a human get sucked into a jet engine?

Can a human get sucked into the jet engine of a normal modern airliner? if so has it ever happened and what is the minimum or maximum weight that these engines can suck? As a safety measure, wouldn't ...
47
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5answers
15k views

Why do airliners have to park so accurately?

I was watching some airport documentary and I noticed that the planes always had to park precisely. I honestly didn't think so much of it before, but in the documentary, an aircraft parked badly ...
45
votes
5answers
10k views

How do airliners get from the factory to the client if the aircraft does not have the required range?

Today I flew on an Embraer 190 of Kenya Airways. Checking in the tech specs this aircraft has a range of roughly 2900 km. Considering it is built in Brasil, I was wondering how do they deliver it to ...
45
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3answers
53k views

Are cargo holds pressurised these days?

This question is only regarding aircraft that seat more than about 100 people. Are cargo holds pressurised these days, what is the situation? Are only some pressurized, most, of every single one? ...
44
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9answers
8k views

How important is it to have talent to become airline pilot?

The situation that led me to ask the question is as follows: I am a student pilot with only about 10 hours of flight time. I passed the aptitude and personality tests prepared by German Aerospace ...
43
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3answers
45k views

What are the spiral marks in the center of the engines?

When I get a chance to peek inside an engine, I noticed that many have spiral marks painted in the center. What is the purpose of these? Pictures:
42
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3answers
12k views

Why is the lower deck of the Airbus A380 curved like a single deck airplane?

I recently traveled on the lower deck of an A380 and the section where the side walls of the fuselage and its roof top meet is curved just like any single deck airplane. Credits: Wikimedia Commons ...
40
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2answers
12k views

Can commercial airliners fly over central Antarctica during winter?

For example, if an airline decided they wanted to run year round flights on the great circle from Perth to Buenos Aires with a commercial airliner (e.g. A380 or B747), would they be able to do so? Or ...
40
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6answers
25k views

What's the point in escorting a threatened flight with two fighter jets?

Two days ago I read in the news: Two U.S. fighter jets escorted a Canada-to-Panama flight back to Toronto after a passenger allegedly threatened the plane Friday morning. The nature of the ...
39
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8answers
10k views

Why don't airlines load their passengers like freight?

Apparently, the time for boarding and deboarding an airplane is a large cost factor and something airlines try to minimize but have trouble controlling because the passengers do it themselves. A ...
38
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4answers
9k views

Would failure to put on an oxygen mask during loss of cabin pressure result in death?

I was trying to explain to someone why the cabin is pressurized (no one wants hypoxia) and that led to discussion about the emergency oxygen masks available on airliners. If a person didn't put on ...
38
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11answers
48k views

Could an electric engine provide the same performance as jet engines on current aircraft?

I have looked at various questions on this SE site regarding this topic but I have not really found a satisfactory answer. Some comments here regarding torque and power in electric motors vs gasoline ...
38
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7answers
20k views

Is gravity less on an airliner at cruise altitude?

Is the force of gravity less on an airliner at cruise speed and altitude? I'm not talking about a special reduced gravity flight with a parabolic flight path, just a typical long distance flight. ...
37
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12answers
15k views

Can a passenger jet be towed to safety if it breaks down in midair?

A car can be towed by a tow truck to the repair shop when it breaks down on the highway. Is it possible for a passenger plane to be towed by an emergency tow plane along the air corridor to the next ...
37
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7answers
7k views

What prevents a commercial jet from electronically “resetting” the way a computer sometimes does?

I've had a fear of flying for the past several years and one of the ways this irrational phobia manifests is concern over the airplane power-cycling in mid-air: engines cutting out, control equipment ...
37
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3answers
7k views

What's the appropriate course of action if an airliner bounces 5-10 feet on touchdown?

I regularly fly in a PC flight simulator, and I'm currently trying to refine landings in medium-to-large airliners in various weather conditions. A problem I've faced in some conditions while flying ...
36
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8answers
11k views

Why do some airlines operate fleets so diversified?

When you have a look at the fleets from big airlines like United, Delta, Lufthansa, BA, AF, etc. it seems that they have almost every model Boeing and Airbus released in their fleet. And my question ...
36
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5answers
9k views

Why are commercial airplanes painted at all?

While there was debate over why airplanes are painted white and a question about how much a new paint job costed, what hasn't been asked is why airplanes are painted at all. I remember one airline ...
36
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3answers
35k views

How do airlines pay for their planes?

Taking easyJet as an example, they have a fleet of over 200 A319's and A320's. At a price tag of around \$90m per plane, that equates to about \$18bn. Given that their turnover for 2012/13 was around ...
35
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7answers
11k views

Is it possible for an airliner to safely fly with doors open?

From another question asks about the possibility of dropping bombs from converted airliners. My question: is it possible to safely fly aircraft with a door open for the whole flight envelope? Would ...
34
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6answers
87k views

If a typical passenger plane had total failure of all engines mid-flight, is it possible for passengers to survive?

I have pretty bad flying phobia and often wonder what would happen if all the engines on the craft went out at the same time. I initially had the anxiety-ridden thought that the hundreds of thousands ...
32
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5answers
8k views

Why, until recently, were smooth nose sections not popular?

Why, until recently, were smooth nose sections not popular? By smooth I mean without a break between the nose and windshield. (The question focuses on airliners.) Seeing the Starliner (left) and DC-7 ...
32
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6answers
8k views

Why do we never see high-bypass turbofan engines sharing the same nacelle on large airliners and similar aircraft?

I'm talking about this sort of thing (this is the fictional airplane from Casino Royale), rather than two (or more) engines per wing in individual nacelles: If we ignore the weird 'drop tanks' on the ...
32
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6answers
13k views

Why do airliners pitch up during cruise?

In my experience as a passenger, when the plane stands at the airport and you enter it, the aisle is pretty much horizontal. (Obviously, I've never flown on a DC-3). After takeoff we pitch sharply ...
31
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4answers
8k views

How hazardous is it if an engine cowl falls off?

There was recently an incident where the engine cowl of the starboard engine of a United Airline's Boeing 777 fell off during flight: 'Scariest Flight of My Life.' United Airlines Made an Emergency ...
31
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4answers
4k views

Can large airliners be operated without ground support?

I'm wondering if large A3x0/B7x7 airliners could be operated without ground support. Short of using the inflatable slides, I guess at least stairs would be required to load/unload passengers. Apart ...
31
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2answers
5k views

Why don't modern jet engines use forced exhaust mixing?

Jet engines are noisy[citation needed] - even a modern high-bypass turbofan is still deafeningly loud compared to pretty much anything except the even-louder low-bypass turbofans or a turbojet (much ...
31
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7answers
7k views

Why are jet aircraft never designed with a slower cruise speed?

All jet airliners have a cruise speed between Mach 0.82 and Mach 0.85. At those speeds the aircraft are flying at their maximum subsonic speed. Any greater cruise speed would only be ...
30
votes
3answers
19k views

Why don't airliners use in-air refueling systems?

Right now if an airliner wants to fly a really long distance (eg., a Boeing 787 flying from Seattle to Tokyo), it has to load itself down with lots and lots of fuel, which in turn weighs thousands and ...
30
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5answers
5k views

Can a fighter jet land on a modified airliner?

Imagine this scenario: A modified military 747 is flying at a constant speed and altitude. On the top of the fuselage there is a device like a helipad but with three holes to accommodate the fighter ...
30
votes
1answer
25k views

Why is there a hole in one of the layer of an airplane's windows?

On a commercial airliner, there is a hole in one of the layer of the passenger windows. See here: and here: Or in more detail: Can you explain the physical reasons for this design choice?
29
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3answers
15k views

Why shouldn't you inflate your life vest until you're outside the airplane?

On commercial flights, in part of the pre-flight safety demonstration, you're told in the event of a crash, not to inflate your life vest until you're outside the airplane — why is this?
29
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2answers
11k views

How much of an improvement would a 1% weight decrease on an airplane be to the industry?

Say I thought of a very easy and inexpensive way to reduce the takeoff weight of a commercial airplane (body, fuel and passengers) by 1%. How much would this mean to the industry? Would it make much ...
29
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4answers
8k views

What is this line found above the door on many aircraft?

Many aircraft have this line above the door as seen in the photos below. What is it, and what is its purpose? Source Source
29
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6answers
15k views

For large jets, what is the primary means of slowing down after landing?

I understand that a large(r) commercial jet slows down after landing using the following methods: Wheel brakes Reverse thrust Spoilers/flaps/airbrakes What is the effectiveness of each compared to ...
29
votes
3answers
10k views

What is the bag for on a passenger oxygen mask?

We may all be familiar with the part of the cabin safety briefing where they say that, in the event of a reduction in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from a compartment above our heads, yadda ...
28
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3answers
24k views

Where does my pee go when I flush at 35,000 ft?

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 ...
28
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3answers
3k views

What's the UX in modern airliner avionics for diversion choices, and does it integrate to autopilot?

This question mentions a flight that had to divert, in that case to Iqaluit (YFB). I was wondering: in modern large airliners, what is the user interface like when diverting? How is the case of "what ...
28
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2answers
11k views

What is the typical temperature of an airliner's hull during flight?

Some high-speed military aircraft like the SR-71 had real heating problems, but airliners also travel almost at the speed of sound, use most of their fuel to make up for frictional losses, so I would ...
27
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6answers
4k views

Why isn't the wing span of a certain airliner longer with the longer fuselage versions?

The Boeing 737 next generation models(700,800,900ER) all have the same wingspan at 117ft 5 in. Why doesn't the wingspan increase with bigger and longer models? With the 737-900 wouldn't you need a ...
27
votes
3answers
12k views

Why are propeller engines uncommon on airliners?

My experience in aviation is essentially zero, but looking at Wikipedia it seems like the Tu-95 Bear offers high subsonic speed and extreme range. I assume that turboprop engines are more fuel ...
27
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4answers
6k views

When does an airliner switch from using the tiller to the rudder?

When does an airliner switch from using the tiller to steer to the rudder on takeoff? Same for landing- when does the pilot switch from using the rudder to the tiller? What is this process? Once a ...