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119 votes
Accepted

Why do all commercial aircraft have carpets?

helps prevent slips and falls contains spills (your spilt soda won't ruin your neighbors bag) more easily removed and replaced helps reduce cabin noise
Greg Taylor's user avatar
  • 3,791
107 votes
Accepted

Does the sterile cockpit rule mean flight attendants could not inform the pilots if a passenger is in the lavatory while on final?

"Sterile Cockpit" refers to the concept that pilots should not discuss anything not related to the flight during certain phases of flight (often defined as below FL100). A passenger occupying the ...
60levelchange's user avatar
107 votes
Accepted

Why did this FedEx flight (FDX1311) take such an indirect route multiple times?

Purpose FDX1311 is a daily scheduled flight, called a flying spare, or more colloquially a sweeper. It's a provision to remedy unplanned events which would otherwise prevent customers shipments to ...
mins's user avatar
  • 74.5k
101 votes

Why are there no "sleeper" planes?

There certainly are; it's called "Business Class" and you'll find such areas with seats that recline into what are essentially beds on most long-haul aircraft. However, you simply can't fit as many ...
Cooper's user avatar
  • 2,365
66 votes
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Why was my flight cancelled due to bad weather while other flights were not?

In general, flights get cancelled when arriving flights are delayed or themselves cancelled. Your flight needs three critical things to depart on time, or at all: an airplane, flight + cabin crew, ...
egid's user avatar
  • 23.3k
62 votes
Accepted

Why are there no "sleeper" planes?

They just don't really fly them any more. All things considered history has a big impact on this. 13 hours is by comparison fairly short when it comes to long distance flying, historically speaking. ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
61 votes

Does the sterile cockpit rule mean flight attendants could not inform the pilots if a passenger is in the lavatory while on final?

"Sterile cockpit" doesn't mean abject silence; it means no idle chitchat. An issue relating to the safety of passengers is not idle chitchat, so it can be discussed at any time during the flight.
Lightness Races in Orbit's user avatar
60 votes
Accepted

What precautions prevent 'insiders' from stealing a large aircraft, as in the Horizon Air Q400 incident?

As an aircraft mechanic at a major airline, I think I can answer this pretty well. It wouldn’t be hard at all. All I have to do is wait for an aircraft move. This could be to bring a plane into the ...
Frank's user avatar
  • 2,403
58 votes

Why do pilots do walkaround inspections for regularly scheduled commercial flights instead of aircraft mechanics?

Because it's the Captain's plane, for all intents and purposes. This is exactly the same for many other industries - in particularly shipping (as in boats) and haulage (as in trucks). Similar to ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 9,308
57 votes

Why do airlines retire the flight number after a crash?

consider if you Google a flight number you can see the flight status, imagine if the number was from a past crash, you might for a moment think the one you're looking up had crashed
MetaGuru's user avatar
  • 651
57 votes
Accepted

Why would the cabin crew spray the cabin before landing?

The sprays are (usually) insecticides used to prevent the spread of invasive species and diseases. The process of ‘disinsection’ is required under the International Health Regulations of the World ...
Neerav Dodhia's user avatar
56 votes
Accepted

Is the seat-belt sign activation when a pilot goes to the lavatory standard procedure?

In the US they do very similar theater when a pilot needs to relieve himself. There is an announcement that nobody is allowed to come forward, and grim looking flight attendants are blocking the ...
bogl's user avatar
  • 10.8k
54 votes

Why are there no "sleeper" planes?

I have flown in sleeper class with British Airways flying overnight from Toronto to LHR. It was an expensive luxury which started out great, but when fully reclined the bed is not exactly flat and, ...
Trevor_G's user avatar
  • 4,876
53 votes
Accepted

Why does the headset man not get on the tractor?

The "headset man" is a wing walker, and he is there for a reason - he is not just someone who needs a ride to where the aircraft is being pushed to. Essentially, he is an extra pair of eyes for the ...
60levelchange's user avatar
53 votes
Accepted

Why do cargo airlines frequently choose passenger aircraft rather than aircraft designed specifically for cargo?

Price, commonality, and size choice. A very large proportion of an aircraft's cost is in design and certification. It's followed by the engines, the avionics, and the fuselage. Not much cost can be ...
Therac's user avatar
  • 27.4k
50 votes

Why not use radio to communicate with ramp marshall instead of marshalling signals?

There are several good reasons: Hand signals are actually very easy to learn. Reacting to a visual signal is instinctive and doesn't require knowledge of any spoken language. Batteries don't run ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
  • 26.5k
48 votes
Accepted

What is the purpose of a walled area in the vicinity of Heathrow Airport?

It allows them to do a run-up test of the engines without blowing debris at other parked aircraft, people, or things on the ground. [Credit to Ralph J] The walls have a structure that allows the ...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
  • 36.2k
47 votes
Accepted

How do airlines replace a pilot at the last minute if they're unable to fly?

The airplanes can't depart without the minimum crew, which means 2 pilots, or 3 if there is a Flight Engineer. The airlines have "Reserve" and "Ready Reserve" types of duty to ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
45 votes
Accepted

Could airliners use a steam or electric powered catapult for take-off?

Let's see what the savings are: A mid-sized airliner carries maybe 20% of its mass in fuel. This fuel has an energy density of 43 MJ per kg. Of that chemical energy at most 40% is converted into ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
45 votes

Why deplane all passengers and not the troublemaker?

Airplanes are cramped spaces. Getting everybody else off the plane first gives the police more room to move and fewer bystanders to run into in case the unruly passenger decides to struggle.
Mark's user avatar
  • 5,562
44 votes

Why do airlines retire the flight number after a crash?

Retiring flight numbers after crash is mainly done to prevent the flight evoking negative emotions among future passengers. You don't want the flight number to conjure up images of crash while booking ...
aeroalias's user avatar
  • 100k
43 votes
Accepted

Does a request for passengers to open vents indicate pressurization issues or equipment failure?

I have occasionally asked passengers to do the same thing. I have also asked for window shades to be lowered. The reason is usually because the APU was not working and the ground air conditioning was ...
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
  • 37.8k
42 votes
Accepted

Why would the Pakistan airspace closure cancel flights not headed to Pakistan itself?

To give an example of how flights can be affected by this in ways to make them impossible, Iranian airspace is closed from sunset to sunrise (unless things have changed recently). Any aircraft that ...
jwenting's user avatar
  • 16.1k
41 votes
Accepted

Why don't we have helicopter airlines?

They do in fact exist, though they often use smaller helicopters. A Google search on the term "heli taxi" yields thousands of results, and while a lot are probably irrelevant, the first few pages give ...
jwenting's user avatar
  • 16.1k
41 votes

Why aren't there direct flights connecting Honolulu, Hawaii and London, UK?

Simply, because no airline has determined the route makes economic sense. A poll doesn't necessarily translate into a ready market of passengers. Sure, lots of people might check a box on a survey ...
Zach Lipton's user avatar
  • 8,306
39 votes

How can an airliner make up for time lost?

That's a common scenario, that you're pushing off the gate late and would like to make up time. There are a number of ways that making up time can happen, although how much of that the pilot can ...
Ralph J's user avatar
  • 51.8k
39 votes
Accepted

When are black boxes used?

There are two recorders that are mandatory on board commercial aircraft: CVR for voice, and FDR for data. They are designed to survive an accident and include an ultrasonic beacon to facilitate ...
mins's user avatar
  • 74.5k
39 votes

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

I don't know where he gets that. Regulation wise there's nothing stopping an airline pilot from listening to music as long as he/she can hear ambient sounds or communications and modern headsets make ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
38 votes
Accepted

How can an airliner make up for time lost?

According to ICAO Annex II (Rules of the air) 3.6.2.2(b): Variation in true airspeed: if the average true airspeed at cruising level between reporting points varies or is expected to vary by plus ...
Sami's user avatar
  • 2,164
37 votes

Can a pilot change out of uniform during breaks on a long flight?

The answer depends a lot on the jurisdiction and airline, but Yes, pilots can change out of uniform during breaks on long flights. A 15 hour flight would have 4 pilots who are all in the flightdeck ...
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
  • 37.8k

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