108

Towing is quite feasible, and even landing while in tow is possible - I've done it myself in gliders. The hard part is catching up with the stricken plane. To stay with Keegan's Boeing 777: It most likely will travel at Mach 0.8 and somewhere between 30.000 and 39.000 ft when disaster strikes. Let's further assume that power fails instantly, so the aircraft,...


105

Several of the hijackers, including Mohamed Atta, held at least private pilot certificates and had undergone ATP level jet training in DC9 and 737 full motion simulators in December of 2000. Atta himself held a commercial license with instrument and multi engine ratings. They were well versed in aerial navigation techniques and more than capable of ...


93

Passenger operations are overwhelmingly scheduled whereas cargo is on demand and thus less easy to plan. The upside: A cargo plane crew will fly quite diverse routes. The downside: Capacity utilisation is worse. This shifts the balance of cost such that fixed cost must be lower than what is possible with scheduled services. As a consequence, older aircraft ...


93

The cabin interior is curved to accommodate, among other things, the brackets holding the upper deck floor beams. These brackets are a structural feature that transfers the weight of the upper deck to the fuselage with considerably less reinforcement that a straight T-joint. The bracket acts as a small truss element, creating a triangle with the deck and ...


89

It's for wing bending relief (for cantilevered wings). As the generated lift bends the wings upward, the weight of the fuel will counter that. As the plane loses weight in-flight due to burning fuel, so does the need for wing bending relief (less weight → less lift), that's why the wing tanks are the last to be used. For context, a Boeing 777-200ER can ...


84

White has some significant thermal advantages over color. In most cases, this is probably just a benefit in terms of keeping the cabin slightly cooler. In the case of 'plastic' airplanes (those built with composite construction), some airframes require the use of white paint on upper surfaces to keep some elements within limits. Early Diamond Aircraft ...


83

This is to ensure that there is space for all equipment around the aircraft. It's not critical to the centimeter, but if it's off by a meter or more there may be problems. For example, the tail may stick out into the taxiway behind or the nose may stick into the service road in front of the aircraft. While most aircraft stop with the nose wheel on or very ...


74

The green coating is a primer (historically zinc chromate, these days zinc phosphate is used as it's less of an environmental hazard) - While you could theoretically fly around like that it is a rather ugly shade of green, so most folks (and airlines) tend to paint their aircraft some other color. So why white? White has a few advantages, but the two ...


73

They are Anti-shock bodies. In the transsonic speed range (above about Mach 0.7), aircraft drag is governed by Whitcomb area rule, which basically says that to minimize drag, the aircraft cross-sectional area must change as smoothly as possible, independent of its actual shape. It is somewhat counter-intuitive, but well established. Compare this Junkers ...


73

I work in aero engine safety but not for the company that manufactured the engine in the event you mention. Parts falling off engines is Not Good. We worry about them hitting people below the aircraft. And as Koyovis mentions, losing the nacelle or portions thereof (looks like in this case it was the intake and fan cowling) can change the aeroelastic ...


72

Yes. Human beings can get sucked into jet engines if they are close enough- this has happened multiple times in a number of aircraft ranging from A319 to A6E intruder. However, it happens only in rare cases- usually in case of miscommunication or a mistake, when safety procedures are not followed. The following image shows the safety hazard area for ...


72

We could start with the Tupolev ANT-20 with its rather daring forward-facing passenger gallery. [edit - the prime seat right at the front in the gallery was for the navigator and his equipment.] source Like the Tupolev, most examples are inter-war. Here is the moderately successful Latécoère 521 being assembled showing its gallery beneath the cockpit [edit ...


66

I'm a programmer and private pilot, so maybe I can help dispel some of those fears. The computers that run a commercial airplane are conceptually much simpler than the one that runs your phone. This means far less chance of a bug in the software, just because there's less for the programmer to keep track of. If your phone restarts, it doesn't imperil ...


61

Air Transat Flight 236 experienced a complete power loss over the Atlantic Ocean in 2001. Yes, all passengers and crew survived after the aircraft glided 75 miles to a runway on the Azores islands. Even in the event of the loss of all engines, an aircraft can keep its critical electrical systems running thanks to the ram air turbine which allows the crew to ...


61

Yes. (I found this by Aaron Holmes's hint that he searched only English sources.) On 1999 Feb 12 at 3:40 pm, a Grob G103 sailplane F-CGXB (possibly "in wave flight") collided with an Airbus A 320 F-GJVG at 8600 feet, near Montpellier, France. Both landed safely with minor damage. There were no casualties. Summary: https://aviation-safety.net/...


58

I did high altitude training about three months ago, up to 30,000 feet simulated altitude. Here's the timeline: Within 30 seconds (oximeter 100-95): noticed physical symptoms beginning. I could tell that something was wrong, but felt functional. Within 60 seconds (oximeter ~90): mild headache. Still able to write my name. Not feeling good, but ...


58

Those are static wicks -- Basically these are little wires screwed to the airframe. Their purpose is to discharge the static electricity that an aircraft picks up moving through the air - especially in clouds. The static discharge tends to happen at "pointy" protrusions from the aircraft - if this happened through antennas it could cause radio and ...


58

All of the hijacked flights were going in different directions and had to be piloted to a different destination. The hijacker pilots had different degrees of success in doing this. The flight paths they took are shown in this map published by the FBI: Mohamed Atta, the ringleader of the effort, was a licensed commercial pilot received significant simulator ...


56

Aircraft design has not changed that much in the last 10 years. In fact, most aircraft in production 10 years ago are still in production. The cargo holds in typical airliners are indeed pressurized. Take a look at a cross section of an airliner (A380 here): The round shape of the fuselage outline is very efficient at withstanding pressure. Because of that,...


56

Fuel Quantity Unlike smaller fighter jets, you would need to offload a substantial quantity of fuel. For a B777, you're looking in the range of 60 tonnes of fuel for half a tank. The boom of a KC-135 (faster than a basket) can do around 3 tonnes a minute. The math comes to then 20 minutes of aerial refuelling. The KC-46 can do perhaps 180 tonnes, so you ...


53

GA refers to why you fly your plane, not what kind of plane it is. For example, John Travolta has (had?) his own personal Boeing 707, which is the first generation of jet airliner from Boeing. When he flew it, it was not under scheduled service, so it would be classified as a "general aviation" flight.


52

what is the minimum or maximum weight that these engines can suck? Quite a lot, considering they can ingest ramp equipment... This is a JAL 747 ingesting a baggage container. Delta L-1011 doing the same.


52

Surface air temperatures aren't really going to be relevant for an airliner. The temperature of the troposphere doesn't vary that much. In fact, the troposphere is warmer at the poles (from Wikipedia Troposphere): At middle latitudes, tropospheric temperatures decrease from an average of 15 °C at sea level to about −55 °C at the tropopause. At the poles, ...


48

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a modified 747 that has an 5.5 m x 4.1 m door that is opened during flight for the installed in infrared telescope. But the door is usually closed during takeoff and landing. But according to this story there are emergency procedures to land with an open door and it had to do so once, when it ...


48

Having all the payload of a plane concentrated at the fuselage creates a large bending load on the wings in order to support that weight. Storing fuel in the wings allows some of that weight to be placed at the same place where it's being supported, in the wings. Distributing the weight into the wings reduces the loads where the wings meet the fuselage.


47

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 was the flight that resulted in this addition to the safety briefing. After being hijacked, the plane eventually crash-landed in the ocean. Many passengers died because they inflated their life jackets in the cabin, causing them to be trapped inside by the rising water. Mayday/Air Crash Investigation S03E13 (Ocean Landing) ...


47

These are rain gutters. They are designed to catch rain that runs off the upper surface of the aircraft fuselage and channel it away from the open aircraft door so that the water does not enter the cabin. This is a close up of the rain gutter over the main cabin door of a Beechcraft King Air B200, showing the channel that would catch and redirect water ...


47

I worked for 3 years as a ramp agent and there are two reasons: Jet bridges and safety. Jet bridges have plenty of leeway, but not a lot. This gets worse in winter because those things hardly move at all with ice. Some jet bridges are poorly engineered, some are old. The painting on the ground tells the marshaller where to park the aircraft. By putting ...


47

Some do (or have in the past) but very high altitudes present their own issues. Historically the Concorde cruised anywhere from FL550 to FL600 and was actually allowed to climb and descend at its discretion up there since they were well clear of any traffic. However the increase in pressure differential on the airframe as well as supersonic flight meant the ...


47

Bouncing a landing is neither intentional nor desirable. There are several reasons why a student pilot might bounce, but for a professional pilot, it's most likely related to wind gusts, which are a challenge no matter how much training and experience you have. Gusts are by their nature unpredictable, and if one hits the plane right as it's touching down, ...


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