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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15
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
13
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6answers
2k views

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 ...
13
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1answer
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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!) ...
13
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3answers
3k views

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 ...
12
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3answers
2k views

Could the GPS be used to aid the autopilot with speed?

In the AF447 incident, the autopilot system was offline due to the aircraft's pitot tubes being obstructed by ice particles. Since the physical condition of the plane in air is cold and risky, the ...
11
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4answers
13k views

What medications may pilots take while flying?

We all get sick, suffer from allergies and sometimes chronic issues. It is not safe to fly while on some medicines or in some cases, for some time after taking the medicine. How do I know what I can ...
11
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2answers
2k views

Which precautions should I take when flying in very cold / hot weather?

What are the important precautionary measures to take when a flight (either GA or airliners) is operating in extremely cold (e.g. -10°C or below) or extremely hot (e.g. 40°C or above) weather ...
10
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3answers
500 views

Is it common for automated control systems to use non-redundant sensors?

While reading an article about the Lion Air Crash with a Boing 737 Max 8, I was very surprised by the following paragraph: In designing the 737 Max, Boeing decided to feed M.C.A.S. with data from ...
9
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5answers
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Does adding more engines to commercial aircraft increase safety?

For example, the Boeing 747 has four engines, whereas the Boeing 737 has 2. Does this means that the Boeing 747 would be safer if one of the engines fail?
9
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2answers
2k views

How often does fan blade out happen?

Jet engines are designed to contain a fan blade failure, and the engines and airplanes are designed with this type of failure in mind. This is more critical in the modern high-bypass designs with ...
8
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2answers
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What steps have been taken to rule out instrument failure due to blocked static ports or pitot tubes?

In the case of Aeroperu Flight 603, a fatal crash was caused by duct tape that was accidentally left over some or all of the static ports on the underside of the fuselage after the aircraft was ...
7
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2answers
1k views

Why are the transition altitudes/levels different around the World?

I got tasked by my instructor pilot to find out why each country has a different transition altitudes / levels. For example in the US it's FL180 and in Saudi Arabia it's FL150. Can someone help me ...
7
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1answer
426 views

Is there any System to warn of Runway Incusion?

From what I learn, in large towered airports, the control of who enters and leaves the runways belong to the Control Tower Operators. And that got me thinking: Is there any Equipment or System in ...
6
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7answers
17k views

How do I determine odd or even when working with altitudes?

I am always confused about how to calculate safety altitude, especially when it comes to even heights and odd heights, e.g. is 7500ft even or odd?
5
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2answers
1k views

Is it ATC's responsibility to ensure read backs are correct?

I have experienced this a few times in the last couple of months. When the ATC assigns me a squawk code and I enter it in the transponder, a few minutes later when I try to reconfirm the squawk code, ...
5
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2answers
337 views

Can RVSM safely be further reduced?

Since the world population shows no signs of slowing down its rapid increase, it's pretty safe to say that means we can only expect more concurrent flights as time moves forward. Is it physically ...
5
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2answers
4k views

If the EPU (Emergency Power Unit) on a modern fighter jet fails, will the aircraft drop out of the sky?

If the EPU (Emergency Power Unit) and batteries plus engines fail on a modern fighter aircraft, basically they will fall out of the sky, there is no dead stick landing - is this correct?
5
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5answers
1k views

What measures prevent a military aircraft's weapons from being fired on the ground?

Recently the 20mm cannon of an F-16 was accidentally fired on the ground by maintenance personnel at Florennes Air Base in Belgium, resulting the the destruction of another F-16 and damage to a third. ...
4
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1answer
2k views

What component of an aircraft is most likely to fail?

Given how rare airplane component failures have become today, I'm curious, are there still any components which are commonplace on aircraft, but still see a high failure rate? If so, why are these ...
3
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5answers
2k views

Why don't aircraft (commercial and military) use reflective visor windshields?

Just like those used on an astronaut's helmet, these reflective visors can help in better visibility when facing the sun (or any bright light source). But the windshields of most aircraft (commercial ...
36
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8answers
19k views

Why are First/Business Class seats at the front of aircraft where it is the least safe?

According to this image, taken from The Science of Survivability (Page 79) from NOAA, the statistically safest seats to sit in are at the rear of the plane (69% survival rate vs 49% at the front). ...
31
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4answers
16k views

What should you do when ATC gives you a number to call to discuss a violation?

Generally speaking, for those that either have experience calling the number, or, preferably, for those that were paid to answer the phone, what are the benefits or pitfalls of calling? I had a ...
33
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7answers
21k views

Why don't 747s use unreliable, but cheap, jet engines instead?

I'm a neophyte who was reading a little bit about jet engines, and the economics behind them. In particular, I was curious about what makes jet engines so expensive compared to piston engines. A ...
17
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4answers
7k views

What would happen to a flying aeroplane if there's suddenly a brick-size hailstorm?

What would happen to a flying aeroplane if suddenly there is hail in the sky? For example, ice the size of a brick.
26
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3answers
13k views

What safety features prevent jets sucking in ground staff or equipment?

There have been some gruesome deaths involving ground staff being sucked into jet engines, presumably because the engine thrust was set well above idle. Are there safety features (besides prudence on ...
22
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6answers
14k views

Why don't commercial aircraft adopt a slightly more seaplane-like design to allow safer ditching in case of emergency?

For example : Why don't they have a more hydrodynamically shaped fuselage underside ? Specifically for the aircraft that have their engines mounted under the wings, isn't this too dangerous for ...
18
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4answers
36k views

Is flying during the day safer than flying at night?

Is there any correlation between night or day flight time and rate of accidents? To me it seems that there should not be a difference. If an airplane needs to execute an emergency landing, it has to ...
25
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3answers
5k views

What to do when you accidentally land on a runway thats borderline long enough to land on?

I was reading another question earlier when I noticed a story about a 737-700 that landed at M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport in downtown Branson Missouri. The runway is only 3738 ft, long, which is ...
24
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3answers
3k views

Is it recommended to get a life raft for short overwater operations?

I'd like to fly to Santa Catalina Island (AVX) from the mainland around Los Angeles. There is a portion of this overwater flight where my Cessna 172 will be beyond gliding distance from land. I know ...
23
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8answers
44k views

How do pilots see at night if airplanes don't have front lights?

How can pilots identify threats ahead of them if they don't have front lights like cars?
19
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1answer
7k views

What is the difference between fail-safe and fail-soft?

I have heard the following terms related to safe system design but I cannot really see a difference between fail-safe and fail-soft (graceful degradation). To get a common understanding I will just ...
10
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2answers
5k views

Why couldn't Air Moorea Flight 1121 use pitch trim to land safely?

On August 9th, 2007 an Air Moorea Twin Otter crashed into the ocean. The cause of the crash was determined to be loss of pitch control after an elevator cable snapped. In my world (Cessna 152), if an ...
10
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4answers
2k views

During a takeoff emergency, is it safer to abort or continue the takeoff if either can be done within the available runway?

In a multi-engine airplane, if an engine failure occurs at the exact moment that a decision needs to be made to reject or continue the takeoff, and there is plenty of runway available to do either, ...
8
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4answers
3k views

Is it safe to fly on airplane with lithium batteries in cargo hold?

Lithium-ion batteries have the tendency to go on fire. I checked baggage policy of European low cost carriers (easyJet, Ryanair, WizzAir), and while spare batteries are banned from cargo hold, it ...
30
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3answers
7k views

Why are on-board computers allowed to change controls without notifying the pilots?

Recently we've had the 737-MAX debacle, where it increasingly appears that the MAX on-board MCAS system repeatedly would issue nose-down events, leading to the Lion Air crash, and possibly another ...
21
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1answer
2k views

What must ATC do, following a reported laser sighting by a plane?

Supposing a pilot reports having a laser beam shone on them to ATC, what action should they take? Is the pilot allowed to take evasive action? Can other planes request clearance to avoid the area?
16
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1answer
3k views

Is a dancing crew dangerous?

Recently, the crew of an Indian airline performed a short choreographed dance sequence mid-flight on the occasion of Holi. This is, a not so rare practice amongst low-cost Indian carriers, who ...
10
votes
1answer
930 views

Why isn't the An-72 / Boeing YC-14 configuration used for airliners?

Why aren't there a lot of passenger airliners (short flights) using this configuration, since using Coanda effect by blowing wing's extrados is much safer in harsh weather, and would provide extra ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Are the vortex generators on the Cessna Caravan necessary and sufficient for safety of flight?

I've been doing some reading about the C208B (Cessna Caravan) in prep for my new job flying cargo; I came across this article which (as far as I can tell) is a transcription of litigation surrounding ...
8
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1answer
635 views

Would discharging a firearm in-flight cause an explosive decompression?

I was reading a BBC FAQ about Federal Air Marshals, which has this chilling quote in it: A gunfight on a passenger airliner is seen as an option only of last resort. Presuming an air marshal has ...
6
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4answers
3k views

Where do all the bullets end up? [closed]

When planes engage with guns, many of the shots are misses... what happens to the bullets? Do they kill people on the ground and damage facilities? Do we have any records of this happening?
5
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3answers
2k views

How is risk managed in single engined piston aircraft flights?

I have already read this post: How dangerous is flying in a single-engine plane? Recently as reported in the NTSB accident database, a pilot of a light aircraft encountered engine failure after take ...
4
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4answers
312 views

Is Turn and slip indicator a good back-up for the attitude indicator?

I was reading my Aircraft general knowledge book, and noticed something peculiar that was written. The book described that the turn and slip indicator works as a back-up in case of a malfunctioning ...
2
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5answers
1k views

Would mechanical indicators have helped in the Air France 447 incident?

NB I am not an aviation professional. I saw a documentary about the terrible Air France 447 disaster the other day. I was struck, as were the experts in it, including David Learmount, who's known as ...
32
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3answers
6k views

Why evacuate upwind?

Evacuation procedures after a forced landing recommend directing passengers upwind of the aircraft. What is the reason why evacuating upwind is better than other directions?
21
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3answers
3k views

How are go-arounds safe with close parallel runways?

Some airports operate simultaneous take off and landing on parallel but close runways. By close, I mean like the pairs of runways at LAX. What if a landing aircraft makes a go-around at the same time ...
21
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2answers
2k views

What information does a pilot have about aircraft operating on an intersecting runway?

This incident at O'Hare from July 2006 made me wonder what information is available to a pilot (specifically, in an airliner) regarding aircraft that are using an intersecting runway. In this ...
21
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3answers
4k views

How are Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo's windows so large?

From Virgin Galactic on SpaceShipTwo: Windows in the passenger compartment will be 13 inches (33 centimeters) wide by 17 inches (43 centimeters) tall. IMO that's enormous for an airplane, ...
19
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1answer
3k views

Is a light aircraft still usable after a successful airframe parachute deployment?

Some light aircraft now have airframe parachutes. If a pilot does have to pull the chute on a Cirrus (for example), is the aircraft flyable or at least repairable after landing or is it a write-off? ...
18
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3answers
2k views

Is it technically viable to reintroduce sleeping berths?

The airlines are always trying to jam more passengers into each plane. I'm smaller than today's average, and I'm still often uncomfortable in a standard Economy seat. It occurred to me that in the ...

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