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116 votes
Accepted

Why did my flight climb so sharply on takeoff?

Your flight took off during a storm. During a storm, the wind speed close to the surface of the earth is much lower than the wind speed a bit higher up. This variation of wind speed over a short ...
DeltaLima's user avatar
  • 83.5k
107 votes
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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
100 votes
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Is a firm landing an indication of the pilot inexperience?

First of all, the landing should be in the touchdown zone. Often I see pilots try to achieve a very smooth landing but floating far out of the touchdown zone before touching terra firma. Then they ...
DeltaLima's user avatar
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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 do paratroopers not get sucked out of their aircraft when the bay door opens?

The difference is in the pressurization. An aircraft with skydivers or paratroopers would either not pressurize in the first place or smoothly depressurize the cabin using the outflow valve before ...
Bianfable's user avatar
  • 56k
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

Why don't commercial passenger safety videos ever explain policy instead of merely dictating it?

There is no time. You need to convey the information in as little time as possible or people (those few that watch at all) lose interest and start doing other things. Reasoning tends to invite ...
jwenting's user avatar
  • 16.1k
59 votes

Can ATC handle a flight as emergency although the pilots have not declared an emergency?

In the US, a controller has the authority to treat any situation as an emergency, and they do. I have had controllers "declare" an emergency multiple times, even when I thought I did not ...
mongo's user avatar
  • 17.8k
58 votes

Is there a maximum possible size for an airplane?

It is no accident that the biggest birds are flightless. The ability to fly goes down with increasing size, so there is also an upper limit for aircraft. The main reason is that as size increases, ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
56 votes

Is 3 crew cockpit safer than 2 crew?

No aircraft ever had more than two pilots (on duty at the same time). The additional flight crew members were flight engineer, navigator and radio operator. Dedicated radio operators were only ...
Jan Hudec's user avatar
  • 56.3k
56 votes
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Why do all airliners have life jackets?

The plane would be lighter. Not by much. It cannot be hard to dedicate different planes to different routes. This adds to the logistics difficulties in scheduling the airframes. It's MUCH easier ...
RAC's user avatar
  • 4,616
55 votes

Can a few random interaction with cockpit controls result in a crash?

There's a real-life example that seems very similar: Aeroflot 593. The pilots let two children sit in the cockpit while the aircraft was on autopilot. One of the children pushed the control column for ...
Pondlife's user avatar
  • 71.8k
55 votes

Why are airlines so concerned with checked baggage weight?

Airlines do care about your carry-on weight and even your weight. Many have carry-on weight limits, which low-cost carriers usually enforce, weighing the carry-on and tagging it as cabin luggage. Full-...
Therac's user avatar
  • 27.4k
53 votes
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Why are 'ghost flights' necessary?

Airliners are both larger and more complex than the small aircraft you're familiar with at your local flight school. For an example of some of the items to consider, see: What do you need to do to ...
fooot's user avatar
  • 73.4k
51 votes
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Can commercial airliners fly over central Antarctica during winter?

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 ...
Greg Hewgill's user avatar
  • 9,152
48 votes
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How much does it cost the airline if an aircraft misses its take-off slot?

A slot time is issued for aircraft flying through busy airspaces or to busy airports where the demand (number of flights) exceeds the capacity. If 50 flights are planned to arrive at an airport in 1 ...
60levelchange's user avatar
47 votes

Is a firm landing an indication of the pilot inexperience?

A perfect landing is seen as one where the contact with the runway is almost imperceptible. No, the perfect landing is firm. The aircraft should touch down with a not strong, but still perceptible ...
Jan Hudec's user avatar
  • 56.3k
45 votes
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What if all passengers pay to check in extra baggage?

To answer the questions as asked, We won't depart over the maximum takeoff weight. We'll do something to bring the takeoff weight down to not exceed the limit. Generally, people fly as scheduled if ...
Ralph J's user avatar
  • 51.8k
45 votes

How much of an improvement would a 1% weight decrease on an airplane be to the industry?

There is an easy way to get an idea of what magnitude the savings are: The Breguet equation can answer this. You first calculate a reference aircraft and then start all over with one that weighs 1% ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
40 votes
Accepted

How many lives would be saved if the airlines turned all the seats around?

The evidence is not the most recent one, but According to an article in the December 1952 edition of Naval Aviation News, “Passengers in Navy transport planes have ten-fold better chances of coming ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
40 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to stall a plane so badly that the nose refuses to go down due to lack of airspeed?

Yes it's called a Deep Stall, and is mostly a problem with T Tail aircraft, especially jets with Supercritical Airfoil wings (like the CRJ Regional Jet line). Such wings stall from the leading edge ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
39 votes
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Why are accident rates higher on smaller aircraft?

The amount of resources that go into commercial aviation are really amazing -- the amount of time, talent, money, and effort that have gone into making the airlines the safest mode of travel known to ...
Ralph J's user avatar
  • 51.8k
38 votes

Is a firm landing an indication of the pilot inexperience?

are there other technical or regulatory explanations? A few points to add to the excellent answers already given: Different aircraft models vary widely insofar as getting smooth landings. If you fly ...
Terry's user avatar
  • 39.2k
38 votes

How large are the banners that are trailed behind small planes for advertising?

Pre-911 I towed banners, and towed them with a C172 and a C182. Parasitic drag of the banner is the limiting factor. We had different letters, and for the C-172, the letters were about 1.5 meter ...
mongo's user avatar
  • 17.8k
38 votes

Do commercial flights continue with an engine out?

The image looks like four engines running at the same cruise thrust. The wake vortex is blowing the exhaust of the inboard engines down and the exhaust of the outboard engines out and in the ...
Jan Hudec's user avatar
  • 56.3k
38 votes
Accepted

Who operates delivery flights for commercial airlines?

When I worked for Boeing as an intern in 2000, I got to see Boeing’s wide body delivery center in Everett, WA. Back in those days at least, the airlines brought out a crew of lawyers, aircraft ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
38 votes
Accepted

Can a commercial airplane overtake another airplane going in the same direction?

Faster aircraft often overtake slower on the same routing. This is usually accomplished by flying at higher or lower altitudes. This is called vertical separation. They can also be separated laterally ...
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
  • 37.8k
38 votes
Accepted

How long does it take to train a commercial pilot to fly a fighter jet?

fly it or fight it? There is a major difference. A few days studying the systems and maybe a few hours in a simulator and/or a two seater with an instructor and he could probably fly the aircraft and ...
jwenting's user avatar
  • 16.1k

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