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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23
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8answers
13k views

Where is the safest seat in the plane?

If I'm going on holiday with my family on an airliner such as one of the ones listed on this page, then where is the safest place to sit? The answers to this question seem to imply that the seats at ...
23
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6answers
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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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3answers
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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 ...
23
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3answers
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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 ...
23
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1answer
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Was there an incident when Airbus autopilot wasn't letting the airplane land?

I'm trying to track down a story about an incident involving an Airbus airplane my father told me about 25 years ago, when he was working at a Boeing supplier. Reportedly, what happened was the ...
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2answers
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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 ...
23
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1answer
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What are the accident rates for kit built aircraft vs. normal aircraft of the same model?

I know that some manufacturers both sell kit and finished version of their aircraft. For a fair comparison of accident rates, i was wondering: What are the accident rates for kit built aircraft vs. ...
22
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5answers
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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 ...
22
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3answers
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Is it a flight violation to mishear ATC instructions for exiting the runway?

I was on landing rollout and misheard a tower "turn off at xxx switch ground" call. We read back the incorrect taxi way and turned off there and switched to the ground frequency. After our incorrect ...
22
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4answers
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Don’t seats that recline flat defeat the purpose of having seatbelts?

Virtually all first-class airline seats, and many to most business-class seats, recline all the way down, either as lie-flat seats (where the seat reclines to a 180º seatback-seatpan angle, but the ...
22
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3answers
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How is it safe for helicopters and Ospreys to refuel in mid-air?

How do military helicopters like the Blackhawk and CH-53, as well as the V-22 Osprey, perform mid-air refueling without their rotor blades (periodically and accidentally) contacting the drogue or fuel ...
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5answers
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What should a pilot do when flying in the vicinity of parachute jumpers?

There are several airfields nearby where parachuting activities routinely take place. How far away is considered to be a safe distance from the airfield when flying past it en-route to another ...
22
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4answers
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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 ...
22
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1answer
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How short does a trip need to be before flying is less safe than other forms of transportation?

It's often mentioned that flying is the safest form of transportation, and no doubt this is true when considering only a long-haul trip. There's no doubt, for example, that driving (or taking a train ...
22
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1answer
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How does exceeding the critical Mach number of an aircraft affect its operation?

If an aircraft exceeds its critical Mach number, does it affect the way the aircraft is handled? Are there any significant changes to performance or the safety of the aircraft when above this speed? ...
22
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5answers
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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 ...
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 ...
22
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1answer
2k views

Does a jet engine keep running when it can no longer be controlled from the cockpit?

On the Qantas Flight 32 incident, the Airbus A380's number two engine suffered from an uncontained engine rotor failure and partially damaged the controls of number one engine as well. According to ...
22
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1answer
903 views

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 ...
22
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5answers
4k views

Could a Personal Locator Beacon or EPIRB carried by a passenger aid in locating a downed airliner?

There've been a lot of questions lately about tracking aircraft, and after a conversation with a friend of a friend I started wondering: Could a PLB or EPIRB carried by a passenger or crew member aid ...
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7answers
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Can two aircraft be allowed to stay on the same runway at the same time?

My understanding is that the runway should always be cleared, and occupied by no more than a single aircraft for takeoff and/or landing at any given time. Is there any scenario in which ATC can ...
21
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8answers
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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?
21
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5answers
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Are children safe when seated in lap during a flight?

We would never consider putting an infant or toddler into a car without a carseat, but we don't hesitate to do exactly this when getting onto a large airplane. If you aren't aware of the concept of a ...
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2answers
3k views

How to land the aircraft when the flight deck is full of smoke?

If a fire occurs in flight, the crew will likely try to land on a diversion airport. However landing presupposes seeing the primary instruments, switches and controls. Source In case the fire is not ...
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2answers
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How does a pilot report a person (on the surface) in distress?

After a downhill bike ride gone wrong last night. Around midnight I was climbing up a mountain (to my Jeep) with my bike on my back. While I was climbing I was thinking about the fact my headlight ...
21
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3answers
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How does TCAS work?

TCAS is obviously a fantastic piece of kit, but I was wondering: exactly how does it work? What I mean is, how does it determine whether to tell a pilot to climb or descend when there's traffic? ...
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3answers
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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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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?
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3answers
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Do (or can) pilots observe religious fasts when flying?

This question is about religious fasts like the Muslim Ramadan and others. Is there a civil aviation regulation about this? Must a pilot eat and drink by the regulations (or abstain from flying), or ...
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1answer
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What are the protocols of flying over conflict areas?

Apparently Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 used a general airway over the east of Ukraine, which currently is 'in conflict'. What are the 'normal' procedures regarding (not) flying over conflict areas? ...
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3answers
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Why would only a specific model of drone be allowed to fly over crowds?

The FAA allowed CNN to fly a drone over crowds at extremely low altitudes. Its scope is within the UAVs. Only a specific model/type is allowed to operate on these flights. Why is this model of drone ...
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2answers
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Tail Wing Dented—Is it safe to fly?

I’m sitting in the lounge waiting to board this flight. Saw a dent in the attachment of tail wing to the body. Is this common? Also I could be wrong and it is part of the design of the airplane. Any ...
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2answers
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How do airlines ensure each passenger has a life jacket before a flight?

It's very easy for a passenger to walk away with a life jacket. What do airlines do in general to ensure that there is a life jacket available for each passenger? Do they check it manually as part of ...
20
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6answers
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Why is water in the fuel tank bad?

I mean, on the one hand it seems kind of obvious, if you had a fuel tank that was mostly water then you would lack combustible materials for the engine, but I get the impression that having any water ...
20
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3answers
4k views

What is the risk of a single skydive?

I've seen many articles that compares the risk of skydiving with other sports or activities like cycling or driving. However, they are very ambiguous in terms of how the risk was calculated (number of ...
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5answers
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Are the current seat belts used in commercial airlines safe enough?

I find myself thinking often, if the seatbelts in airlines are designed just to keep the passengers in seat or to really act as a safety belt like in cars, because in cars which go at 300kmph speed, ...
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3answers
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Are the first solo flights by a student pilot more dangerous?

The first solo flight is a nail-biting moment, not only for the student pilot, but also for the flight instructor who's sending him off. In theory not having a CFI reduces the margin of safety ...
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4answers
4k views

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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3answers
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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, ...
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2answers
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Are controllers aware of TCAS RA taking place?

When the TCAS issues a Resolution Advisory (RA) which contradicts an ATC instruction, the RA takes priority. Are controllers aware (notified on their screen) that a RA has been issued between two ...
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3answers
1k views

Are ETOPS rated planes denoted by a placard or other indicator?

A recent AA flight to Hawaii was not ETOPS rated. (alternate article) Apparently the failures that led to this mistake occurred on multiple levels, including the schedulers who scheduled this ...
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3answers
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Is it worth reporting that I saw a green laser being pointed at the aircraft as a passenger?

I was on approach to Vienna yesterday evening when I observed two 2-second green laser flashes 5 seconds apart from one of the rear passenger windows of the B737 where I was seated being pointed at ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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Why do commercial helo pilots wear helmets?

I've been on my fair share of commercial helo rides, primarily in Canada. Over the course of more than ten rides in three different kind of helos (Bell 407, 412, and I think one other) there was only ...
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2answers
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What scientific evidence is there about the effectiveness of pre-flight walk-arounds?

As a student pilot, often on my walk-around, I get the impression that there are any number of hazards that could pass me by, simply because I can look at every part on the checklist but I wouldn't ...
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2answers
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Are commercial aircraft designed with a shared data network?

In modern airliners, do systems like the in-flight entertainment system (IFE) share the same physical and/or logical network as the flight management systems (FMS)? Is there any communication between ...
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3answers
2k views

Why are airplanes sometimes led by a vehicle?

Airplanes are sometimes led by a vehicle on taxiways until they reach the runway or stand, why is this?
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4answers
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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....
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2answers
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How much impact can be taken when flying in formation?

This recently published 360-degree video shows four F/A-18 Hornets performing impressive maneuvers what appears to be only a few inches apart. Considering the risk of impact I find it hard to ...