80 votes
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What are the advantages of towbarless pushback tugs?

Advantages of towbarless pushback. You don't have to store different tow-bars for different a/c types. This is especially good for ground handlers who handle different airlines with different ...
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  • 4,491
80 votes
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Why don’t airplanes use turn signals?

At uncontrolled airports, there is rarely enough traffic for signals to be needed, and pilots should (though are not required to) communicate with each other on CTAF—an option that cars do not have. ...
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74 votes
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Can a human get sucked into a jet engine?

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 ...
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  • 98.7k
65 votes
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Why do airliners park with the nose facing the terminal?

To park a passenger plane with its tail towards the terminal has several disadvantages: it would require a pushback tractor (plus personnel) to do that. Thrust reversers in general are not meant for ...
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  • 21.4k
63 votes
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Are there any drawbacks to requesting progressive taxi every time?

Apart from appearing really unprofessional, the obvious drawback is a significantly higher workload, both for the pilot but especially for ATC. You're not the only aircraft moving around at the ...
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54 votes
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Do I need explicit clearance to taxi on an inactive runway?

Yes, you need an explicit instruction (not clearance) to taxi on any runway - and you got one! The controller told you to "taxi on [runway] 10" which is about as explicit as it gets. If he did not ...
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53 votes
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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 ...
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52 votes

Can a human get sucked into a jet engine?

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 ...
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  • 1,542
52 votes

Why don’t airplanes use turn signals?

I think the points raised in other answers are good, but they miss the essential difference. Cars choose from a discrete set of options, but planes do not. When you indicate left when driving you are ...
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47 votes
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How can two planes be on the same taxiway facing opposite to each other?

The taxiway is being used for parking. Specifically, parking of two MD-80s that have attracted press attention—The Australian: Clive Palmer’s $10m in tax-haven jets sitting idle: TWO 155-seat jets ...
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  • 8,258
45 votes

Why are the aircraft in this image parked this way?

If your photo had only one aircraft pinned behind or between two others, there would be another possibility: it's a repair shop, and the owner of the pinned aircraft hasn't paid their bill. I've known ...
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  • 22.3k
44 votes
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Why are the aircraft in this image parked this way?

This is what happens when there are more planes to park than can fit on the apron. They are parked asymmetrically to fit as many aircraft as possible into the smallest area. The Parking Airports have ...
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  • 1,234
42 votes
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Why aren't planes loaded from both ends?

The aviation industry is already running at near-peak efficiency, performing crucial tasks simultaneously to ensure quick turn-around. Trying to speed up the boarding process by allowing entrance ...
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  • 3,645
40 votes
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How could the B-29 bomber back up under its own power?

Some B-29s had reversible pitch propellers. All the B-29s used for the Atomic bomb missions had reversible pitch propellers. Wikipedia B-29 Variants Moreover, engine packages changed; including ...
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  • 32.4k
38 votes
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What is the cable connected to a plane for?

This is a ground power unit (GPU) which supplies the aircraft with electricity while the generators or the auxiliary power unit (APU) are not running. This is important especially during boarding, ...
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  • 15.5k
38 votes
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What are the steep ramps often erected at large airports?

Here in the United States these are called blast fences. They protect whatever may be behind them from the direct effects of jet blast by directing the blast upwards.
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  • 10.2k
37 votes
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Is it OK to move a light aircraft by pushing or pulling the propeller?

A couple of my CFIs have asked me to help them park the airplane (in absence of a tow bar) when I was pushing the airplane by putting one hand on the hub and the other on the propeller near the hub, ...
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  • 29.1k
36 votes

Can a human get sucked into a jet engine?

It's happened before, both with civilian and military aircraft. This video was shot in 1991. Crews ready an A-6E attack aircraft for launch aboard Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) for a night sortie over ...
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35 votes
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How is an aircraft aligned at a jet bridge?

How are aircraft aligned with these bridges They are not (but read on) Aircraft are aligned to a point on the concrete, not to the jetbridge(s). It is the jetbridge itself that carries out the ...
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34 votes
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What is this device they bring on board from the jet bridge when we park?

It is a temperature probe for the preconditioned air (PC air) unit. Bleed air is required in order to operate the air conditioning packs on an aircraft*. Thus, either an engine or the auxiliary ...
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  • 4,977
32 votes

Why are the aircraft in this image parked this way?

They did this to deal with an overflow of traffic at Anguilla (Clayton J. Lloyd ) International Airport during the 2013 holiday season. It is very fortunate that you properly cited your image. This ...
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31 votes
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Is it true that the red lights on building antennas help the aircraft "detect/visualize" ground objects?

Those lights are used to show obstacles that may interfere with the aircraft's course, such as antennas, buildings, wind turbines, and they are mandatory. The name of those lights is Aircraft Warning ...
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31 votes
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How do tugs push back the Antonov 225?

Quite simple ― use a (special) towbar! Aircraft with such unique front wheels (like the Antonov An-225 Mriya and Lockheed C-5 Galaxy) carry their own towbar around, which is then attached to the tugs ...
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  • 98.7k
30 votes

How do passengers board the planes on this airport?

They are specially designed apron jet bridges. It looks like the normal gates but required to transfer passenger by bus. A model shows how it runs (credit) :
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  • 5,268
30 votes
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Can a completely drained battery be recharged via ground power on an airliner like the B737?

My one experience with this was in a 737-300 that had the battery charger die, and the battery depleted while in flight. The Battery Bus was still powered by TR3, but the Hot Battery Bus died (...
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  • 42.1k
29 votes
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Why aren't there brake lights on aircraft?

They simply aren't necessary. Brake lights are on road vehicles because often they travel at relatively high speeds, and follow relatively close to one another. If a driver suddenly slows, the brake ...
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  • 2,358
28 votes
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How long does it take to refuel a big jumbo jet?

It depends on a number of factors like: the aircraft size and variant the range required the aircraft load equipment available Ground crew proficiency ...among others things. This figure from the ...
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  • 98.7k
28 votes
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Which (if any) is the "most major" airport / field / strip on Antarctica?

You can find a full list of airports on the continent here, the majority are ice/snow runways with two gravel runways at Rothera Air Facility and TNM. Supported is a loose term down there, however ...
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