94 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 ...
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 ...
76 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-...
  • 10.2k
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 ...
  • 4,522
53 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 70.1k
42 votes
Accepted

Why don't airlines load their passengers like freight?

Boarding takes a long time, true. There are more efficient strategies (.pdf) which have been proven to speed up boarding by between 20% and 50%, still they are not adopted. Why? You need to load the ...
40 votes
Accepted

Why are commercial airplanes painted at all?

I remembered hearing that paint actually reduces the drag of the plane. Searching a bit I found this Boeing document describing it. So the painting reduces the fuel costs, instead of increasing them....
  • 524
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 ...
  • 54.8k
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 ...
  • 35.4k
31 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 5,759
30 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).
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 ...
27 votes

Why are commercial airplanes painted at all?

Quite apart from the paint preventing corrosion, which puts the lie to the idea that AA flies unpainted aircraft (they don't, they use a clear paint on metallic parts and metallic paint on non-...
  • 15.1k
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 ...
  • 49.6k
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 ...
  • 970
22 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 39.3k
21 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 ...
  • 27.8k
20 votes

Did any Boeing 787 operator achieve the 20% fuel efficiency improvement over the 767?

You have not defined your benchmark/reference value, but a three-year-old article suggests this was possible depending on definition even at a very early stage for some airlines: ANA earlier this ...
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 ...
  • 70.1k
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 ...
  • 5,988
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 ...
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 ...
  • 18.2k
18 votes

Why don't airlines load their passengers like freight?

The system you propose would be extremely heavy compared to existing aircraft. More weight means more fuel and more fuel means even more fuel to carry that fuel through the air, and even more fuel to ...
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 “...
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 ...
  • 111k
16 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 ...
  • 111k
15 votes
Accepted

What is the ratio between time in the air and time on ground for an aircraft?

It will vary widely from aircraft to aircraft, but I will try to give some general estimates. Time on the Ground Part of what you are referring to what is sometimes called aircraft turn time. It's ...
  • 5,244
15 votes

Did any Boeing 787 operator achieve the 20% fuel efficiency improvement over the 767?

Wikipedia's B787 article states that: According to data from launch customer All Nippon Airways, the 787 surpassed the promised 20% fuel burn reduction compared to that of the Boeing 767. This ...
  • 11.4k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible