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96 votes
Accepted

Why do aircraft models end their life as freighters?

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 ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
83 votes
Accepted

Why is jet fuel cheaper than piston fuel?

Jet-A (and all turbine fuels) are far cheaper than 100LL (at least in bulk; retail prices vary due to local supply and demand as well as different regional tax regimes on aviation fuel) for several ...
UnrecognizedFallingObject's user avatar
78 votes
Accepted

Why don't 747s use unreliable, but cheap, jet engines instead?

The cost of a jet engine is mainly dictated by the operating conditions: high temperatures (sometimes above the melting point of the metals used) and high rotation speeds. This means you need high-...
Hobbes's user avatar
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56 votes
Accepted

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
  • 4,626
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
33 votes

Why are aircraft parts built in different places and assembled in one?

You can only hire so many people at one place, and also only find so much land there, so when the whole process no longer fits, there is no other option than start building components at other places ...
Jan Hudec's user avatar
  • 56.3k
32 votes
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Why don’t airliners have temporary liveries?

They do have temporary liveries. This is very common in wet lease operators, where an aircraft is flown for an airline during a peak period or when their planes are down for maintenance. Airlines want ...
user71659's user avatar
  • 6,636
31 votes

Why do aircraft models end their life as freighters?

Freight planes fly less. Since they're not in constant use like a passenger airliner, it makes more sense to pay less up front (fixed costs).
Will In The World's user avatar
31 votes

Why is jet fuel cheaper than piston fuel?

There are a number of factors that go into it: Economies of Scale Jet-A is used in a much higher volume than 100LL. All the jet engine commercial aircraft each day burn through orders of magnitude ...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
  • 36.2k
28 votes

Why are 'ghost flights' necessary?

Perhaps this adds little to the answer already posted, but I feel it needs to be emphasized that airliners are designed to fly. Designed to fly a lot, in fact. Like, spend a significant portion of ...
Peter Schilling's user avatar
24 votes

Why do aircraft models end their life as freighters?

If just like to add to the answers here and address a few inaccuracies made about air cargo. What you ask is true, some of the oldest aircraft out there are flying cargo, and most of the answers here ...
TomMcW's user avatar
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24 votes
Accepted

What is the most 'environmentally friendly' way to learn to fly?

Here are some options for flying in an environmentally friendly way: Use an electric trainer: Since last year the all electric trainer aircraft Pipistrel Alpha Electro has FAA certification. Assuming ...
Bianfable's user avatar
  • 56.5k
23 votes

Why don't 747s use unreliable, but cheap, jet engines instead?

Your assumption that failure rates of identical engines in identical service are independent is probably not true. If it was true it would take a lot of proving, and the cost of that would end up ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 1,157
21 votes
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Is the takeoff power always maximum?

Takeoff power is almost never maximum engine power. Maximum power affects engine life as it brings significant wear to the engine. IIRC, if max power is used on takeoff, the crew must log an entry in ...
kevin's user avatar
  • 39.8k
21 votes

Which engine is more financially economical to operate, a turboprop or gasoline engine?

Piston engines are significantly less expensive to operate, as long as the aircraft's performance and reliability requirements can be satisfied by a piston engine. It's not just the fuel, it's the ...
Therac's user avatar
  • 27.6k
20 votes

Why are aircraft parts built in different places and assembled in one?

There are many considerations in where parts are manufactured or assembled, and not all are directly related to economics. Both Boeing and Airbus have assembly lines located around the world, so it ...
fooot's user avatar
  • 73.4k
19 votes

What is the most economical way to store a small aircraft in a place with severe weather?

Location matters. Where are you located? A hangar is not as important in a dry climate like Las Vegas as it is in, say, Miami. It may make sense to pay more for a hangar. Leaving a plane exposed ...
acpilot's user avatar
  • 6,016
19 votes

Why do all airliners have life jackets?

Why do airlines not remove the life jackets from planes that fly over land? They do, at least some of them. I fly on intra-European routes regularly (mainly Eurowings) and have never seen life ...
dasdingonesin's user avatar
19 votes

Why do narrowbodies have longer life than widebodies?

The author does a very good job explaining the jet market. The key take-away is that it's all about economics. In many ways, narrowbodies may "wear out" faster as they typically fly shorter routes and ...
Gerry's user avatar
  • 20k
17 votes

Why do all airliners have life jackets?

Because this can still happen. That’s US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River. They made a movie about it starring Tom Hanks. There’s no way to predict disasters, and had the plane been “...
NonCreature0714's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

Airplane gently rocking its wings during whole flight

I can give you two theories. One is it's a very very mild case of "overcontrolling" of the autopilot roll servo as it chases a perfectly wings level condition and continuously applies a teeny bit too ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
17 votes

How does helicopter mustering make financial sense?

Two reasons: It is way faster and allows one person with a relatively cheap-to-run R-22 to do the work of several cowboys. You're paying for the cowboy 24-7 if they are on staff, which is usually ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
15 votes

Why don't 747s use unreliable, but cheap, jet engines instead?

"What am I missing here?" is a good question to ask. Cost of manufacturing is not the only cost involved, as other answers mention. Other costs include: How does the engine fail? Does it simply ...
Technophile's user avatar
15 votes

What is the most 'environmentally friendly' way to learn to fly?

By using as much simulator time as possible.
quiet flyer's user avatar
  • 22.8k
15 votes

Why are 'ghost flights' necessary?

In addition to all these great breakdowns of the technical aspects of planes airlines will lose their precious airport-slots if they fail to actually use them. I.e. if an airline pays for a (...
matthias_code's user avatar
13 votes

Is it really cost effective to put a motion system underneath a Full Flight Simulator?

While a simulator with motion simulation is more expensive to own/operate than a simulator without motion simulation it is still cheap compared to a real airliner So if the regs say a particular ...
Peter Green's user avatar
  • 1,680
13 votes

Why don’t airliners have temporary liveries?

The time needed to apply and remove the advertisements would cost too much money. As long as the aircraft is on the ground, it cannot earn revenue. Better to forgo the small profits from ads for ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Is it really cost effective to put a motion system underneath a Full Flight Simulator?

Here is what a lot of people experiences about simulator: they sit on a chair in front of a desk at home, run some PC flight simulator game with a yoke, and they can do pretty much anything - in the ...
kevin's user avatar
  • 39.8k

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