Questions tagged [commercial-aviation]

Commercial aviation is the part of civil aviation, whether general aviation, non-scheduled service, or scheduled airline service, that involves operating aircraft for hire to transport passengers or cargo.

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98
votes
9answers
18k views

Is there a maximum possible size for an airplane?

Is there any theoretical or practical limit to the maximum number of passengers - and therefore size - one can build an airplane for?
74
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10answers
33k views

Is a firm landing an indication of the pilot inexperience?

In a commercial airplane, when a landing has been a bit firm, a passenger may think it was not perfect, or maybe performed by an inexperienced pilot. (Source) A perfect landing is seen by passengers ...
65
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14answers
60k views

Why are commercial flights not equipped with parachutes for the passengers?

I understand that commercial flights are equipped with life vests. I also understand that most military jets are equipped with ejection seats. It may be costly and technically challenging to equip ...
57
votes
10answers
18k views

Why is there really only one basic design for passenger airplanes?

So when I look around on the airport, I don't really see many differently shaped airplanes. They all look pretty much the same, only subtle differences. Image: Aircraft Recognition Why is this ...
50
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9answers
11k views

Why don't commercial passenger safety videos ever explain policy instead of merely dictating it?

British Airways announced and published their new in-flight passenger safety video: I'd like to draw your attention to two pieces of instruction given in the video, ...
50
votes
6answers
14k views

Why was my flight cancelled due to bad weather while other flights were not?

I'm stuck in Frankfurt. I missed my connection due to a delay. I was rebooked, but this new flight was also cancelled due to bad weather. About 30 percent of all flights were cancelled today. ...
49
votes
5answers
51k views

Why are the lights inside commercial airplanes turned off during take off and landing?

Before landing and taking off, I notice the lights inside commercial aircraft are greatly reduced. I don't buy the explanation of power saving in case full thrust is needed as nowaday lights don't ...
46
votes
6answers
8k views

Is it practical to become an airline pilot in order to travel internationally?

I am a person with very diverse interests and a lot of life goals I want to achieve. One of them is becoming an airline pilot (just working as one for a year or two) and the other is traveling the ...
45
votes
3answers
51k 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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5answers
7k views

Can ATC handle a flight as emergency although the pilots have not declared an emergency?

The preliminary report for the LNI610 crash shows how much distractive conversation there was between ATC and LIN610 at a time when the pilots clearly didn't have the aircraft under control – as ...
42
votes
8answers
11k views

What if all passengers pay to check in extra baggage?

Suppose a given flight is fully booked and everybody shows up. Not only have they all brought the allowed fully loaded carry-on & checked-in luggage weight but exceed the free-limits. They are all ...
42
votes
8answers
7k 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 ...
42
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4answers
11k views

How many lives would be saved if the airlines turned all the seats around?

The psychology and history of forward-facing seats has been answered well already here. I ask instead about how bad it is that seats are forward-facing. For context, I was looking through Wikipedia's ...
41
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3answers
33k views

Why do pilots have the ability to turn off the transponder in-flight?

These days, when reading news about missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200, I keep coming across a scenario where pilot might have deliberately turned off the transponder which is used for the ...
40
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12answers
30k views

Why don't all commercial aircraft transmit GPS data in real time?

It seems strange that trucks and taxis can be set up to transmit GPS data in real time but aircraft cannot. Wouldn't this be a useful function and feasible to implement?
40
votes
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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3answers
7k views

Is 3 crew cockpit safer than 2 crew?

Today, commercial aircraft cockpit is manned by 2 pilots, previously it was 3 to 5. Is safety compromised in any way?
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
7k views

Do commercial aeroplanes use ABS to brake?

I have read that the wheel brakes on an aeroplane are by for the most efficient means of stopping it. I was wondering whether in low grip situations, such as in rain or snow, an ABS (Anti-lock Braking ...
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 ...
34
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7answers
7k views

Do any aircraft carry spare parts for making repairs?

I was curious to know, are there (or were there) any aircraft that regularly carry spare parts to be used for replacement or repairing the aircraft itself? If so, what are those spare parts? I'm not ...
34
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3answers
5k views

How large are the banners that are trailed behind small planes for advertising?

How large are the banners that are used for aerial advertising, and how much do they normally weigh? Example: source: © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons) Wikipedia page on ...
32
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6answers
6k views

What risks come from passengers taking baggage during emergency evacuation?

In recent news, the pilot of an aircraft that caught fire was chastising passengers for taking their luggage. What are the major concerns behind his criticism? I like to put this in context: All ...
32
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6answers
16k views

Can jet airplanes operate on 'rough' airfields?

A question I've always wondered is: can jet aircraft - not turboprop in this case - operate from 'rough' airstrips. My definition of 'rough' is grass or maybe a smooth mud airfield. I know that there'...
32
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4answers
7k views

What do flight attendants do if a passenger asks what is going on in case of a potential emergency?

This is related to, but not the same as, another question I asked on Interpersonal Skills. I was on a flight last year, on a route I fly on a fairly frequent basis. Shortly after takeoff, I heard the ...
31
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6answers
10k views

Why aren't there more passenger helicopters?

I've observed helicopters being used often in the military for medical flights for other special use purposes, such as sightseeing and news reporting Why aren't there any commercial passenger ...
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
11k views

Would a flight consisting of solely first-class passengers be cancelled due to center-of-gravity issues?

Consider any modern jetliner (narrow-body and widebody separately) in a standard 2 or 3 class configuration. If somehow only first-class or business-class passengers bought seats, would that plane be ...
29
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2answers
10k 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 ...
28
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7answers
6k views

Why bother having different engine options on one aircraft?

When an airline purchases a new passenger jet, they often have a choice of engines (from different manufacturers). Why is this? I would expect that one of the engine options is "best" and that all ...
28
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3answers
12k views

Why are airlines so concerned with checked baggage weight?

Why is it that commercial airlines are so concerned with checked baggage weight, such that they charge extra just for the privilege of checking in a suitcase with a limited weight (e.g. 15kg), and ...
28
votes
9answers
35k views

Can a large passenger aircraft recover from a stall?

In fighter aircraft, we know that they have good enough of maneuverability. But in case of a passenger airplane, if a stall happens is the aircraft maneuverable enough to recover from it?
28
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10answers
16k views

Can a civilian aircraft pilot see a missile coming?

Can a civilian aircraft pilot see a missile coming? By "civilian aircraft," I mean planes that were not equipped with flares that fire when rockets approach or any similar anti-missile systems. If ...
27
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5answers
8k views

Can a few random interaction with cockpit controls result in a crash?

Lets say a monkey / snake interacts with 3 random controls inside the cockpit within less than 3 seconds until the PIC / SIC can take control of the aircraft again. Could such interactions result in a ...
27
votes
2answers
4k views

What are the legal issues for an Uber or Lyft type model for ride share on General Aviation aircraft in the United States?

Is it possible for an Uber or Lyft type service to operate that allows pilots with small aircraft to share a ride under current FAA regulations? I personally don't see how this could operate under 14 ...
26
votes
1answer
7k views

How much does it cost the airline if an aircraft misses its take-off slot?

I was recently watching a TV programme and it said if an aircraft misses its take-off slot it will cost the airline company thousands, roughly how many thousands though???
25
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5answers
9k views

Why do all airliners have life jackets?

According to this question, life jackets are not mandatory in planes that do not fly over large bodies of water. However, I have never been on an airline flight without life jackets (and the ...
25
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3answers
7k views

Why are the call signs of some airlines completely different than their name?

The call sign of U.S. Airways is "Cactus", and that of British Airways is "Speedbird"; while for Malaysia Airlines is "Malaysia", Qantas is just simple "Qantas". Why is it that the call signs of some ...
25
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2answers
4k views

What is the difference between being instructed to land “as soon as possible” or “at nearest suitable airport”?

On commercial airliners, the FCOM (Flight Crew Operating Manual) sometimes gives instructions to the pilots to land sooner than planned, following various in-flight failures or emergencies. For ...
24
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5answers
4k views

Why are accident rates higher on smaller aircraft?

This question was raised as part of this discussion. Why are accident rates higher on smaller aircraft? It seems the safety record of military, private and small commuter planes is much less safe ...
24
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6answers
20k views

Can a passenger request to visit the cockpit during a flight?

As a kid, I remember going to the cockpit of a plane with my mom (I believe the airline was AOM French Airlines). Is this still possible now? I understand the answer might differ with different ...
24
votes
4answers
9k views

Why doesn't the aviation industry use SI units?

This is a followup to What is the measurement system used in the aviation industry? and related to this question from History. I can understand the arguments as to why adoption of SI units would not ...
24
votes
2answers
6k views

Do test pilots on commercial aircraft wear a parachute?

I was watching a video of the first A350 flight. At 0:35 one of the pilots appears to be wearing a helmet and what looks like a parachute. Is that true? Do pilots on maiden flights wear such a kit, so ...
24
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1answer
3k views

How much leverage do commerial pilots have on cruise speed?

If you fly frequently there are chances you have seen some delays in departure where you end up waiting in the aircraft sometimes for multiple hours. Almost every time that happened I remember the ...
23
votes
4answers
35k views

What is the measurement system used in the aviation industry?

I saw this question from History Stack Exchange and noted that the US is still using the imperial measurement system such as feet, miles and pounds. Given that a plane may need to fly from one ...
22
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5answers
6k views

Why are there no commercial supersonic flights at present?

I'd think that on certain heavily trafficked routes, especially ones with lots of business travelers, there would be a market for high-speed (supersonic) flights? Why are there currently no ...
21
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6answers
7k views

Can a wide body airliner land safely with a full fuel tank?

Can a commercial double-aisle jet aircraft (e.g., 777, A330) land safely with a full fuel tank (minus the fuel spent on taxing and takeoff)? Has that ever happened?
21
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6answers
6k views

What are the factors behind increasing aircraft window sizes?

Modern airliners like the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 have bigger windows than older designs, like the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320. What factors have led to this change of window size, opposite to the ...
21
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3answers
4k views

Why do aircraft leave the cruising altitude long before landing just to circle?

Often flights will leave the cruising altitude long before the actual landing. They will go down to a couple of thousand feet and stay at that altitude and circle for quite a while in waiting loops ...