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
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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 ...
31
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3answers
8k views

How serious is an impact like the 10/2017 Delta Airlines suspected bird strike?

Recently, there was an incident where a Delta Airlines charter flight carrying the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team was struck by an "unidentified object". Delta's official statement claims that ...
31
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4answers
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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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3answers
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Why was a flight delayed because of a bird in the cockpit?

This Washington Post article is about a Delta Airlines flight that took off after an initial delay, before turning back again shortly after, because of a bird that managed to stowaway in the cockpit. ...
31
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2answers
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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 ...
31
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2answers
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I just saw a plane drop off online radar; should I do anything about it?

I was watching Flight Radar 24, positioned near my house, to see what planes I could spot, and noticed a Cessna 550's transponder just dropped off @ 5,325 ft in a high-speed descent! Is there ...
31
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4answers
15k 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 ...
31
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1answer
3k views

What would have happened if the jet engine on my aircraft had ingested caulk from the pavement?

I was recently on a flight - the aircraft was a 737-800 - where I had a good view of the front of the left engine. The situation in the title did not occur, but it seemed awfully close. After ...
30
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3answers
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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 ...
30
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8answers
13k views

Why aren't cell phones allowed to be used in aircraft?

What problems do cell phones cause? How is using a cell phone in the air different than using it from the ground?
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 ...
30
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4answers
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What materials are plane windows made of?

I've always wondered, what are those dual-layered (bonus: sometimes they have a little <2mm hole, why is it there?) windows commercial jets put next to their seats made of?
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5answers
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Why didn’t the Captain of Cathay Pacific flight 780 shut down engine 1 and land with a more reasonable speed?

In the approach phase, engine 1 of Cathay Pacific flight 780 got stuck at about 70% N1 and it forced the crew to do an overspeed landing (230knots). Why didn't they shut it off by turning the fuel ...
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
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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?...
29
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3answers
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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 ...
29
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3answers
14k views

How do Ram Air Turbines get deployed?

I understand that most larger jets have a Ram Air Turbine (RAT) in case of total electrical failure (for instance, when you run out of fuel) in order to at least have some hydraulics and a couple of ...
28
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3answers
8k views

Why is the most common hydraulic fluid so poisonous?

The usual hydraulic fluid, Skydrol, is poisonous. If it makes it to the air conditioning system, it causes fume events that may have adverse health effects up to and including at least one fatality. ...
28
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3answers
5k views

Was the “Air Berlin” lap of honor over Düsseldorf problematic?

A few days ago, flight AB 7001 (Air Berlin, New York - Düsseldorf) went for a "lap of honor" around the airport. One video can be found here. No emergency or technical issue, it just was that airlines ...
28
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3answers
4k views

Are grass strips more dangerous than tarmac?

There are a couple of flight schools near me. One is at a large airport, they use Piper Tomahawks primarily to teach. Naturally, they use well maintained, tarmac runways to takeoff and land. This ...
28
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2answers
2k views

Is it safe and effective to have “glider pilot mentality” when landing single-engine fixed-wing aircraft?

I am a low-time pilot, of approximately 200 hours. I trained on the DA20 and DA40, designs that are derived from the Diamond touring motor glider design(s) of the early 1990s. I anticipate getting my ...
27
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4answers
6k views

Why are test crashes not made harder on the airframe?

This is one of the videos of the crash: 727 Test Crash. It seems it was more of a hard landing without gears. Why wouldn't the experimenters have made it more of a really hard crash if they needed to ...
27
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4answers
3k views

Why are you required to commit to a full stop landing if reverse thrust is selected?

According to Airbus: ‐ After the flight crew selects reverse thrust, they must perform a full stop landing. Does it really make sense to have this limitation, and why? What happens if you realise ...
27
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3answers
18k 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 ...
27
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2answers
3k views

Aircraft emergency oxygen: how hard do I pull on the mask?

AKA 'why is the safety briefing/training inadequate'. I tried Googling my title and got lots of sites explaining the emergency oxygen systems, procedures etc. that I already mostly knew. The ...
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5answers
9k views

Why are pilots asked to provide a reason for a go-around?

Why does the tower ask pilots what the reason is for a go-around? This seems to be standard for commercial flights.
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3answers
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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? ...
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 ...
26
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2answers
6k views

Do pilots of airliners and jumbos do a walk around preflight check for every flight?

Do pilots of airliners and jumbos do a walk around preflight check for every flight? How do pilots of large airliners and jumbos do sumping. If its not a requirement because of aircraft design, why ...
26
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1answer
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What is the purpose of the extremely high cabin altitudes in military aircraft?

The Lockheed SR-71 and the (old) Lockheed U-2 were engineered to maintain cabin altitudes in excess of 25000 feet AMSL at an altitude of more than 70000 feet AMSL. However, in both airplanes, pilots ...
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1answer
22k views

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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5answers
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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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2answers
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Is it illegal to partially block the aisle on a passenger airliner?

After reading all the commotion about the dog that died after its carrier was placed in the overhead bin I wondered- is it against any FAA regulations to allow a flight to take off with a partially ...
25
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3answers
8k views

Where can I find Boeing 777 safety records?

I have booked flights for our family to travel Australia - Europe return with EK. My nine year old son is an aviation geek and since learning some details of the EK B777 crash in DXB (and also the OZ ...
25
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4answers
10k views

Why are magnetized materials dangerous goods?

I was reading about Dangerous Goods, and came across the fact that magnetized materials are classified as Dangerous Goods (item 12 in the linked page). We all see magnets every day, and they seem ...
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 ...
25
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2answers
15k 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-...
25
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2answers
4k views

What is the rescue arrow decal on a military jet pointing to?

I've noticed that a lot of military jets often have an arrow decal with the wording "RESCUE" pointing to a rectangle of some sort. I tried looking around for information about it but I could not find ...
25
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2answers
5k views

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 ...
24
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5answers
15k views

Why is “runway behind you” useless?

I was recently answering this question and for some reason it made me think of this fairly famous aviation saying The three most useless things to a pilot are the altitude above you, runway behind ...
24
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8answers
8k views

Are there any real life instances of aircraft aborting a takeoff or landing to avoid a vehicle?

I came across a fake video of an A380 closely avoiding a fuel truck. More details at Snopes including a link to the YouTube video. While this video is not real, I'm interested in finding out if it's ...
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6answers
6k views

Is it difficult for a GA aircraft to escape a thunderstorm?

I live in the midwest, and I'm getting ready to start working on my PPL. For some reason I find myself really nervous about getting into the air and suddenly seeing a line of thunderstorms rolling in ...
24
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6answers
5k views

Can passenger movement in an airliner make it stall?

This question shows a couple of air hostesses dancing during mid-flight and the co-pilot came out of the cabin to record it. This made me wonder: Can flight crew or passengers moving around in ...
24
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5answers
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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 ...
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5answers
6k views

Why can't airline pilots listen to music while flying? [duplicate]

In an interview I read, a 747 captain (Mark Vanhoenacker, an American British Airways pilot) says he doesn't understand why he cannot listen to music inflight, when for example surgeons – who ...
24
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6answers
21k 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
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2answers
4k views

Why can't most jets safely use reverse thrust while airborne?

According to Wikipedia: Some aircraft are able to safely use reverse thrust in flight, though the majority of these are propeller-driven. Many commercial aircraft cannot use reverse thrust in ...
24
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2answers
7k 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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3answers
9k views

Why is the seat belt mechanism on airplanes so different from the the one on cars?

You pull a flap on airplane seatbelts, you push a button on car seatbelts. Why?
24
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1answer
1k views

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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