Questions tagged [safety]

Safety includes all aspects of protecting aircraft, passengers and crew from accidents, mistakes and other potentially dangerous situations.

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32
votes
2answers
9k views

How do pilots rest on long-haul flights?

When flying on a long-haul airliner flight in economy, often I find it very hard to fall asleep. However, when off cockpit duties, they still have to get rest so that they are able to control the ...
30
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5answers
9k views

Why are passenger seats not facing backward on an airplane?

In the event of a crash, facing backward sounds much safer: Forces are applied on a much larger surface (your whole back is in contact with the seats, instead of just a seatbelt and maybe the ...
29
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2answers
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How is fuel dumped in aircraft?

I have heard incidents in which commercial aircraft are required to dump fuel in event of an emergency to avoid landing over maximum landing weight. What systems do aircraft have in place to dump fuel?...
25
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2answers
16k views

Is it true that the pilot and co-pilot are required to eat different meals?

I was watching a documentary about a Lufthansa A380, and they said that the pilot and co-pilot are required to eat different meals; why is that? Is it a country-specific requirement, or airline-...
23
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3answers
3k views

What steps can pilots take to mitigate the risk of controlled flight into terrain (CFIT)?

One of the inherent risks in flying an aircraft is a controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) incident. CFIT occurs when a flight impacts terrain while under positive control. Aside from incidents of ...
20
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2answers
20k views

What are the consequences of flying GA without a license (certificate)?

As far as I can tell, in the U.S., 49 USC 46317(a) makes flying without a proper certificate a crime punishable by fine and/or imprisonment. However, the FAA is a regulatory agency, which means it ...
19
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6answers
12k views

What are the ways to keep the birds away from airfields?

I know bird strikes are a major issue for many airports, and that measures are taken to keep birds away. There are some obvious things airports can do like not to have any stray garbage, food, etc. in ...
12
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1answer
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What are the regulations involved in aerial advertising?

I often see small aircraft flying at a low altitude around beaches and the like with banner advertisements trailing behind them on a rope sort of structure. I have a few questions about them: What ...
8
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1answer
14k views

Do airlines continue operating in the vicinity of a hurricane?

Have hung around some of the aviation interest groups (like airliners.net) and tried to research this but haven't found very clear answers. Typically when a hurricane (tropical, peak wind-speed in ...
7
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2answers
565 views

Apart from Kenya, what are the current dangerous / unsafe airspaces?

Notams are regularly released to warn about unsafe areas, e.g. Kenya: A0040/15 - SECURITY .. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ADVISORY TO U.S. OPERATORS CONCERNING POSSIBLE ATTACKS WITH MAN - ...
40
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5answers
17k views

How common are cancelled landing attempts?

I recently traveled from Stansted, UK to Skavsta, Sweden with Ryanair, and was informed that depending on the weather (it was very foggy), we might end up landing at Arlanda (~150 km from Skavsta) ...
18
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4answers
12k views

What's the point of intercepting an aircraft?

I know that it's possible for military aircraft to "intercept" a civilian or foreign aircraft (and I'm well aware of the US interception procedures), but why would they be doing it in the first place?...
9
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1answer
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How effective are modern aircraft at clearing smoke?

In reference to this incident by a certain (in)famous artist, i'm wondering how effective modern aircraft are at clearing smoke for single aisle commercial aircraft such as B737/A320 or a business jet ...
8
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2answers
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Why are passengers not given the option of shoulder harnesses?

From this question: In airliners, shoulder harnesses are not installed for passengers because: it is not mandated by law it is too much for average passengers to deal with it requires ...
4
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2answers
5k views

How can landing in zero visibility be safe?

I recognise that autoland and ILS can enable landings in zero visibility, which I presuppose in this question (e.g. in this video where touchdown happens around 5:22). Further, suppose that the fog is ...
3
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1answer
1k views

How are aircraft protected from lightning strikes by conductive skin?

I've read this question and this one, but they don't really answer my question. How or why are aircraft protected (from lightning) by a conducting skin, such as aluminum? Conductors allow current to ...
48
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3answers
26k views

What is the technique or procedure to disable/disengage the MCAS on Boeing 737 Max 8 & 9 Aircraft? [closed]

With regard to the recent crashes involving the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, where according to preliminary reports, it appears to be related to the MCAS, which is a safety system that pushes the nose ...
27
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4answers
19k views

What is the maximum safe bank angle of a 747?

This question arose during the comments of another question, linked for the curious: What does it take to turn a 747 around 180 degrees? Because the discussion was interesting, (and to avoid ...
37
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2answers
5k views

Did the Space Shuttle really wait until 50 feet above the ground before they put the gear down?

I saw a sign at the Smithsonian about the Space Shuttle where it said that their gear was not extended until 50 feet above the ground. I've searched and searched for something definitive that had the ...
34
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7answers
9k views

How do pilots stay disciplined and use checklists, even after they have become routine?

I originally asked the same question on Space Exploration but will repeat it also here: Before every takeoff and every landing, there are several routine checks which need to be done in order to ...
34
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6answers
37k views

Why does the Boeing 737 have 5 x the passenger fatalities of the Airbus 320?

I thought I'd compare the accident rates of these two similar, competing, very successful aircraft. ...
17
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8answers
7k views

What items could you bring on-board to maximise your chance of survival in an emergency?

A question on Travel (Are parachutes allowed on airplanes as cabin baggage?) got me to wondering: hypothetically, what items could the "über-paranoid" passenger or pilot bring on-board to potentially ...
17
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3answers
5k views

Why is the sound quality of onboard public address so bad?

While not a frequent flyer, I did fly common airliners quite a lot, and each time the (very) low sound quality of onboard public adress system has always struck me. We all know technology makes it ...
49
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6answers
17k views

How dangerous was the turbulence on this commercial flight?

EDIT: Having read these great answers I feel a little ashamed for the fear I felt on this recent flight. However, judging by my reaction to the experience and the reaction of those around me on the ...
27
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3answers
3k views

Is it safe to roll an airplane that isn't approved for it?

I have heard of pilots rolling airplanes that aren't approved for it (Cessna 172, Learjets, etc.), and other than the obvious legal issues, are there any mechanical or safety reasons to avoid it? ...
22
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1answer
6k views

Can one pilot lock the other out of the cockpit?

One seemingly plausible theory about the MH370 disappearance is that one or other of the pilots locked the other one out of the cockpit and then depressurised the cabin. However, this answer mentions ...
16
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5answers
2k views

Why don't both black boxes hold the same data?

As I understand, there are two black boxes on-board an aircraft. One black box, the Cockpit Voice Recorder holds the cockpit conversations and the other, the Flight Data Recorder holds essential ...
9
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1answer
1k views

Should helicopters fly when they the lack power for vertical climb out of ground effect?

Following up on this question: If a helicopter lacks power to climb vertically (i.e., with no translational movement) out of ground effect, is it ever considered safe to fly? If so, under what ...
17
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1answer
702 views

Can TCAS cope with situations involving more than two aircraft?

Most of the information I've seen about TCAS talks about only two aircraft being involved. It's pretty unlikely, although far from impossible that situations involving three or more aircraft may ...
14
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3answers
20k views

How are engines mounted onto wings?

I've heard that the engines on a commercial air transports are typically mounted with 2 or 3 bolts. Is this true? If so, how big are these bolts and what are they made of? I'm optimizing a bolted ...
13
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2answers
5k views

Could a runway include a safety device to destroy a plane's landing gear?

The NTSB recently released its final report of a crash at Hanscom field (KBED) in Bedford, MA. The short of it is that the pilot tried to rotate with the gust lock engaged, preventing the plane from ...
13
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9answers
15k views

Can rotorcraft pick up a dangerous electric charge?

So, I was re-watching The Hunt For Red October, (in light of current Russian shenanigans with Sweden), and there was a scene in which a crew-member on the ground was electrocuted by making contact (...
9
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8answers
6k views

Can a handgun shot take down a commercial airliner?

Most airplanes, when taking off or landing, are in range of small arms fire, i.e. your every day handgun. Is it possible to take down a commercial airliner by shooting at it with a handgun? Would one ...
5
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1answer
1k views

Will an Airbus A320 plane go into an unrecoverable nosedive and crash if a single angle of attack sensor fails, like on Lion Air JT610?

For example, has an Airbus gone from cruise flight into an automated unrecoverable nose dive until it hit the ground because an AOA sensor failed in flight? Moreso, are there any cases of an AOA ...
3
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4answers
13k views

Under what conditions would a helicopter be allowed to fly at low altitude over populated areas?

Yesterday, the Department of Energy was flying a military helicopter at low altitudes over Boston and the surrounding area as part of an experiment of some type to measure radiation. I saw one of ...
30
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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?
20
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1answer
2k views

How does NOAA's P3 Orion safely navigate hurricanes?

I've been watching NOAA's P3 Orion fly though Hurricane Matthew a bit on Flight Radar 24. Looks a bit like this for the curious: source It's the only plane actually in Hurricane Matthew. What I'm ...
19
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4answers
7k views

How are aircraft separated in a non-radar environment?

In remote areas that have no radar (oceanic airspace, etc.) how is aircraft separation maintained so that airplanes don't get too close? What do areas that normally have radar do when there is a ...
17
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7answers
6k views

Why do airline pilots have shoulder harnesses?

On airliners, passenger seatbelts are simple lap belts. However, flight crews seem to have at least shoulder straps, and often five-point harnesses. Why do flight crew have more restraints?
15
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2answers
4k views

Are you required to have constant view of the runway when circling?

When you're circling, it has been said that you are required to keep view of the runway at all times below the MDA. However, sometimes this can be impossible due to issues with visibility, such as ...
13
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2answers
4k views

Why did my business class seat have a three point shoulder harness?

I recently rode a short haul international flight on Asiana Airlines AAR111 from KIX to ICN. I was surprised that my business class seat had a three-point shoulder harness given that we’ve discussed ...
12
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2answers
571 views

What are the ejection injury and fatality rates?

Most of us have probably heard about how ejecting from a military aircraft is dangerous in and of itself, and that ejection is not a get out of jail free card. The most common dangers seem to be: ...
10
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3answers
1k views

Why do the engineers need to be on board during testing?

I just finished watching National Geographic's Megafactories: Boeing 747-8. During the test flights, a bunch of engineers are on board the plane, presumably controlling the water tanks that ...
9
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3answers
4k views

Is there any regulation to ensure that life jackets and safety cards are on-board?

On many flights, I was told that a life jacket is under my seat and safety card is in the pocket in front. Is there any regulation that ensures that life jackets and safety cards are on-board on all ...
7
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3answers
4k views

Where does the Oxygen for the emergency gas masks come from?

Normal commercial jets drop gas masks when cabin pressure drops, and supply oxygen, but, where does that oxygen come from? Do commercial jets store oxygen? If they do, isn't pressurised oxygen very ...
41
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4answers
37k views

How is fuel dumping safe?

The answers to this this question make it clear how modern airliners dump fuel in the case of an emergency. As far as I understand, fuel dumping might be done to lower an aircraft's weight to the ...
19
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4answers
3k views

What are the reasons for using an instrument approach on a clear day / CAVOK?

As a new VFR pilot, I was wondering why anyone would fly (or be assigned) an ILS (or other) approach in clear weather? I ask this because I watched Vienna - Tokyo (Narita) on PilotsEye.tv where the F....
15
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2answers
9k views

Is it allowed to listen to music while piloting a plane?

When I'm driving my car, I almost always put some music on. It's really relaxing for me. I know that piloting a plane is nothing like driving a car, but it would be great, at least for me, to listen ...
14
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2answers
984 views

How is an on ground lightning strike test conducted?

Whenever a design company is obtaining an STC for an aircraft (Supplemental Design Certificate) for an electrical installation, one of the required tests to obtain the STC is a lightning strike test. ...
12
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2answers
6k views

What are the pilot responsibilities for “maintain visual separation” clearances?

ATC will sometimes give pilots the instruction to maintain visual separation from nearby traffic. I have a couple questions about this: There is a related ...

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