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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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 ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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What things can a passenger look out for, to indicate an emergency?

As a passenger with a keen interest in aviation, I'd like to think I'd be eagle-eyed enough to spot a problem that the pilots mightn't be able to see, from where they're sitting (for example, an ...
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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 ...
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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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1answer
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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?...
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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?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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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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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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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? ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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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-...
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2answers
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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 ...
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1answer
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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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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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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 ...
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6answers
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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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?
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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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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?
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What is your responsibility when a distraught pilot is on frequency?

I found the recent SeaTac incident with a suicidal pilot frightening. I myself remember being in very bad places mentally, and it got me to wonder what I should do if someone is on frequency, making ...
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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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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 ...