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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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 ...
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2answers
314 views

Measuring speed and altitude from personal phone midflight [duplicate]

Given that there is no need now for one to swith off their cellphone midflight, inflight wifi is now a norm and common, Is it possible for me to measure the velocity and altitude of an aircraft using ...
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Why don't pilots parachute from small planes that are in distress?

There was another question that asked why commercial flights don't have parachutes. The almost ubiquitous response was that the parachutes would be useless because: Most accidents with commercial ...
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5answers
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Do safety-critical avionics systems run Linux?

I have heard diverse things about this. Some people claim that running Linux on safety-critical avionics systems is a very bad idea. On the other hand some people (who are rather unfamiliar with ...
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2answers
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How do airports with no ATC operate?

I've heard that some airports don't have an ATC tower and nobody monitors the landings. Can someone tell me how those planes can land/takeoff safely without incidents occurring? I understand the fact ...
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4answers
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How do commercial pilots send distress signals?

If a commercial jet is in trouble, how does a pilot send a signal indicating distress? Does it take long? For instance, behind reception desks in many institutions and executive offices, there's a ...
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6answers
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Why can't the A320's computer-imposed limits be overridden?

Under the investigation section of US Airways Flight 1549, it is noted that [The pilot] asserted that insufficient credit was given to the A320's fly-by-wire design, by which the pilot uses a side-...
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1answer
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What is the most overlooked item during preflight inspection?

Have there been any studies that gathered statistics on overlooked items on preflight inspections, or even statistics on how many pilots actually perform a good preflight (following a checklist, etc.)?...
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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 ...
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Can I get a photo with the pilots?

Could I, as a passenger, get a picture with the pilots in the cockpit before takeoff/after landing? I'm asking specifically about any rules that would deny a passenger into the cockpit. I know this is ...
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691 views

To what extent have political (race, gender, social class) attitudes been implicated as human factors in the cockpit?

This question is related to: How does cultural difference impinge upon human factors in aviation industry safety? How have deep-seated cultural human factors (particularly in east Asia) in the ...
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How can a pitot tube freeze when it's heated?

Reading Why turn off pitot tube heating?, it appears that the pitot tube heat can be switched off to extent its lifetime and also in case of short-circuit. (Thales pitot-static probe, source BEA) On ...
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How is fuel vapor dealt with at large airports?

When I fill my tank at a gas station, I can see fuel vapor coming out of the tank. I imagine the space above the aircraft tank has fuel vapor mixing with air (at lower oxygen than normal thanks to ...
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Why can't aircraft be cleared to land before the preceding aircraft turns off the runway?

For example, let's say we have an Airbus A330 in front, which has just landed, well past the threshold and looks like it's going to be alright. Next in line to land is a small general aviation ...
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2answers
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How can pilots fly VFR over-the-top in overcast conditions?

It's apparently legal for pilots to fly over the top of clouds and fly VFR. However, I don't understand how it's possible to do so, especially since there is no visual reference to rely on to ensure ...
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1answer
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What are the details of opening a cockpit door from the outside?

Can one pilot lock the other out of the cockpit? It is mentioned in the answer to the question I linked that a person inside the cockpit can stop a person outside from opening the door by "canceling ...
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Was the miracle on the Hudson saved exclusively by the APU?

In the film Sully, (staring Tom Hanks) the APU is switched on straight after both engines rollback, why was this step necessary; Airbus said this was the "15th thing" to do on the checklist. How or ...
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What are the major non-pilot causes of GA accidents?

I'm considering getting a private pilot license. From what I've read, pilot error is the leading cause of major airline crashes -- such as on this page, but that's for major commercial carriers. As ...
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What percentage of airplanes are involved in a crash in their lifetime?

The chances of a commercial flight crash are about 1 in 1 200 000 - pretty low. If each plane makes about 40,000 flights in it's lifetime, about 1 in 30 airplanes will be involved in a crash before it ...
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How do “fundamentally unstable” aircraft deal with the risk of computer failure?

As technology becomes more advance airplanes are becoming less and less stable. In flight school I learned that it's dangerous to load a Cessna out of it's CG range, and now in college (for aerospace ...
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1answer
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What is the minimum allowed altitude for helicopters over a residential area in the US?

I observed a helicopter hovering over a residential area/houses for more than 20-30 minutes. I would guesstimate about 500 feet altitude or more for the helicopter. The low altitude and long duration ...
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328 views

Would better location tracking for airliners improve safety?

Once in a while an airliner just up and disappears -- typically over ocean -- and lengthy and expensive search efforts have to be launched in order to find it. The most famous cases in recent years ...
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Is it legal to smoke in your own plane?

I was just curious, in the past, smoking on planes was permitted. What is the law surrounding smoking in your own private plane?
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What to do if the captain smells like alcohol?

Suppose you're the co-pilot on a flight and during pre-flight, talking to the captain, you smell alcohol. Although you didn't see him drinking and the smell isn't strong, what does regulation ...
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What if pilot feels too tired before his flight?

Today is a day when I feel terribly tired. I'm not ill, but I could sleep all the day, though I had enough sleep last night. This is not a problem if you have an office job where you can probably be ...
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What is the difference between a flow and a checklist?

Use of checklists is a 'special emphasis area' during FAA private and commercial checkrides but there are a lot of comments in pilot forums about using flows instead, often - but not always - in the ...
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Has a commercial airliner ever crash-landed in an ocean?

They have rafts and life jackets on board and before takeoff, passengers are explained how to use that equipment, but have any evacuations ever happened successfully?
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Is there a legal maximum altitude?

In the US, is there a highest legal altitude allowed for certain planes and does it depend on the plane? I heard from a sort-of-reliable source that the maximum is 45,000 feet but I haven't been able ...
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Was smoking banned because of passenger safety or occupational safety?

Federal regulation CFR 252.3 notes that: Air carriers shall prohibit smoking on all scheduled passenger flights. Was this because of: 1) passenger safety concerns (the airplane may catch on fire ...
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What makes it safe for the DC-8 to use reverse thrust in flight?

For most jets, the use of reverse thrust to slow down in flight, where even possible, is extremely dangerous, and strictly prohibited. Not so on the DC-8, which is certified for the safe in-flight ...
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Is it possible to suffer barotrauma during decompression?

Barotrauma is damage of lungs by air overpressure and may occur at overpressure as low as 30 kPa (4 psi). Overpressure in most aircraft is about double that value. So is it possible to suffer ...
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How do I remind myself to run in-flight checklists?

When flying a basic light aircraft with no "modern" instrument the pilot needs to remember to do various checks on a regular basis (FREDA every x minutes, change fuel tank every Y minutes etc.). Just ...
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How can civil ATC maintain safety with military aircraft around?

I've been asking myself for a while how ATC can maintain air traffic safety with regard to military aircraft - or if they just don't. As I understand it, all bigger planes (let's for now focus on ...
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Do bluetooth aviation headsets and/or music negatively affect safety?

I'm in the process of getting my private pilot's license, and I've come to the point where it's probably time to think about buying a headset. As I understand it there are a few options ranging from ...
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2answers
488 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: ...
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6answers
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What is the difference between a tire deflation and a tire explosion?

In this question, our intrepid former 747 pilot Terry mentioned, in the accepted answer, that: As I understand it, tires that dangerously overheat will explode before melting, and that's why ...
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What does a blue light by the toilet sign mean?

When I was flying with Swiss Air we hit some turbulence. Of course, the seat belt light came on but above the bathroom sign, a blue light came on. (Source) Then after a while a second one came on. I'...
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1answer
623 views

Are some countries' civil aviation authorities safer than others?

Okay, put down the pitchforks, I'm not pointing fingers at anyone! I'm just aware that every country has its own civil aviation authority, and I wonder if there's any reason to believe that some ...
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4answers
854 views

If turning off electronic gadgets is so important, why are there no detectors used to find them?

It's supposed to be that electronic gadgets' emission are dangerous for airplane systems. If this is true, why don't they use any detectors to locate such emissions?
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Is this statistic about the fatal accident rate correct?

This link says that: fatal accidents occurred once every 200,000 flights in the 50s and 60s. Now, fatal accidents only occur once every two million flights While many sources, including this one, ...
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Why do you have to keep your seat belt fastened after landing?

What's the point of the usual "please keep your seat belt fastened until the aircraft stops completely (at the gate)" in large passenger aircrafts? Since the plane is on the ground, it is not moving ...
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1answer
510 views

How have deep-seated cultural human factors (particularly in east Asia) in the cockpit been successfully managed in the past 20 years?

This question is based on https://aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/27814/ and related to: How does cultural difference impinge upon human factors in aviation industry safety? To what extent have ...
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2answers
884 views

How does cultural difference impinge upon human factors in aviation industry safety?

Safety through understanding of human factors This question is based on https://aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/27814/ and related to: How have deep-seated cultural human factors (particularly ...
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Could ejector seats save lives in commercial aircraft? [duplicate]

If cost were no issue (it could be done cheaply), would installing ejection seats for passengers possibly save lives? There are certain scenarios (albeit extremely rare ones), where the crew may know ...
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Would a roll cage plus a safety harness make a small GA aircraft accident more survivable?

It seems to me that race cars (like Formula 1 and NASCAR) and small GA aircraft (like a Cessna 172 or Piper Cherokee) travel at generally the same speeds, roughly between 70 and 200 mph. Yet, if an ...
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4answers
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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?...
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1answer
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Do landing strips suffer from potholes or rutting?

In companion to the other question asking about wheel tire tracks. Planes come down and stop with a significant amount of force which I would expect to cause either rutting or potholes. Are runways ...
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How can an airplane land if a hail storm damages the windshield?

I understand hail can be very damaging to an aircraft, in particular to the engines and windshield. In the event that a windshield becomes cracked so that visibility is impossible, can pilots pop out ...
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3answers
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Why aren't bird radars placed on the front of commercial aircraft?

Unfortunately, my skills and understanding of radar and the like are very limited, but if somebody could enlighten me why there is no such thing as a dual bird/weather radar to switch to? I've ...
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1answer
1k views

Will occupants usually survive a decent autorotation?

When I learned to fly helicopters, I of course spent significant time learning about and practicing autorotations. The CFI at my school, who had around 15,000 hrs (that's right, fifteen thousand!) ...

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