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59 votes
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Is it safe to carry bear spray on a GA plane?

The main danger in a light aircraft is that the spray accidentally discharges in the cabin. That could temporarily blind and incapacitate the pilot, which would obviously be extremely dangerous. ...
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50 votes

Do airplanes really expose their internal wires and electronics like this on the wings when braking?

You will have both hydraulic system plumbing lines, the metal pipes, and wiring harnesses running along the rear spar, serving hydraulic actuators and electrical components like sensors and servos, ...
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47 votes
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Minimum number of runways required for international airports?

Instead of just looking at the minimum number of runways, I though it would be interesting to have a look at the overall statistics for the number of runways. So I went through my navigation database (...
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33 votes
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Is it legal to take off from the road?

For this specific case, Texas laws prohibit overall the use of public roads for takeoff, still a municipality may issue an ordinance to allow some takeoffs from county roads, describing the specific ...
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27 votes

Minimum number of runways required for international airports?

Short answer Minimum number of runways required for international airports? There is no such requirement for an international airport, so the strict answer is zero landing area, and the practical ...
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24 votes
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Do airlines use GPS for critical purposes? If so, why?

GPS, or to be more accurate, GNSS is a commonly used navigational aid in aviation, especially in smaller passenger planes. Larger airliners are more likely to be also equipped with inertial navigation ...
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23 votes

How do I request a frequency change to listen to ATIS?

Just tell them what you said in your question. "Approach, N23456 I will be off frequency for a couple of minutes to pick up the ATIS for ABC Airport." That should work just fine. If the ...
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22 votes

What does the expression "Normally with hull loss" mean?

As I understand the phrase, it is saying, "Catastrophic Failure normally results in hull loss." But not necessarily; It is possible to have a catastrophic failure without total hull loss. &...
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18 votes

I heard that the Yaw Damper is critical to flight safety. Why then are most planes allowed to fly with one (out of two) dampers inoperative?

Yaw Dampers are designed to counteract Dutch Roll. Dutch Roll is a continuous yawing and rolling movement that can be experienced in swept wing aircraft in varying degrees of severity. Dutch Roll can ...
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17 votes
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How do fighter jets pre-flight so quickly?

(Source - My many years on fighter jet flightlines. F-111E, F-106, F-15, F-16) Peacetime alert The designated jets are fully preflighted. Munitions fully loaded. INS aligned, IFF code laid in, most ...
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16 votes

Minimum number of runways required for international airports?

In Germany, Lufthansa (the German flagship airline) and Deutsche Bahn (German railways) have a cooperation, where some Deutsche Bahn trains also have a Lufthansa flight number and Lufthansa sells ...
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13 votes

Is it legal to take off from the road?

The FAA does not regulate where aircraft can take off and land. If you want a permanent airport or heliport they have requirements for safe approaches and landings, but only so it can be listed as a ...
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13 votes

Minimum number of runways required for international airports?

Serious answer: one, Bianfable is correct. Slightly less serious answer: zero. In principle, there are scheduled flights from CHX (Vancouver Harbour) or YWH (Victoria Harbour) to LKE (Seattle Lake ...
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  • 1,812
13 votes

Do airlines use GPS for critical purposes? If so, why?

As a pilot I do not disagree with the informative comments above, and would like to add a few additional points to ease your fears. Pilots DO use GPS (satellite) for navigation - in concert with an ...
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12 votes

Is it legal to take off from the road?

As far as the FAA is concerned, you can take off from wherever you like. Otherwise seaplanes and helicopters wouldn't be terribly useful. Local laws vary concerning public roads.
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12 votes

Do airplanes really expose their internal wires and electronics like this on the wings when braking?

To complement things mentioned in other answers and comments, in particular the mention of the underside of a car, here is what the undercarriage well looks in a Boeing 737: Neither these pipes and ...
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11 votes

Is it safe to carry bear spray on a GA plane?

Second things first (just because I can): Bear sprays such as this Wikipedia example are banned as carry on luggage on airliners for two reasons: They are aerosols, which generally are banned They ...
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  • 21k
11 votes

Do commercial aircraft carry personal weapons?

Many countries and/or airlines have a sky marshall program where a specially-trained law enforcement (or possibly military) person is on board with weapons used in case of hijacking. Some examples: ...
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11 votes

Minimum number of runways required for international airports?

San Diego International Airport (SAN), in San Diego, CA is one of the world's busiest single runway airports. Interestingly, Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport, also located in San Diego, is not an ...
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11 votes

How much more dangerous is it to fly in Mexico than Europe?

To answer your title question with some numbers, here are the accident rates (number of accidents per million departures) for the world, Europe and Mexico from 2008 to 2020: (Data from ICAO - ...
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  • 45k
11 votes

Do airplanes really expose their internal wires and electronics like this on the wings when braking?

You are seeing spoilers deployed at/after landing in order to reduce the lift on the wings and make the braking of the aircraft more effective. The "cables and electronics" as you call them ...
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11 votes
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Why is FAA Aircraft Certification Service department named as AIR?

Because it's not an acronym. It's an administrative designation code for the office. While many are acronyms, others are not. The key is to make sure they are unique across the agency. They are in ...
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9 votes

What does the expression "Normally with hull loss" mean?

"Normally with hull loss" is just a way to say that "if this were to occur, that would be the normal outcome". The whole table is used to classify possible events happening during ...
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9 votes
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Should a runway overrun be expected if takeoff is begun with one-engine-out?

You will not achieve book performance if you don't fly with book configuration. See the portion of DeltaLima's answer here, including emphasis added by me: [Takeoff Distance Required] has the ...
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  • 22.3k
9 votes

How much more dangerous is it to fly in Mexico than Europe?

Short answer Such audits are done by FAA to evaluate whether safety is correctly managed by the Mexican regulator in order to inform US DoT. FAA found there is a problem in how Mexico is organized to ...
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  • 67.7k
9 votes

With supplemental oxygen, what altitude can a pilot safely operate at?

Unacclimatized human needs around 14–15 kPa partial pressure of oxygen to breathe. Since total pressure is 15 kPa around 45,000 ft altitude, pressure suit is needed above that. Given that ...
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9 votes
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Does the GPWS rely solely on the radio altimeter?

GPWS is an older technology, and it uses the radar altimeter and a few other things, but not GPS, since it was developed long before GPS existed. EGPWS, the "E" standing for "Enhanced,&...
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8 votes
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What measures are there at Vancouver International Airport to prevent wild animals from entering the airport?

It seems that coyotes may not be as big an issue as you might think: Coyotes are a particular problem for the airport. Formerly, this was addressed by chasing them around the aerodrome in an attempt ...
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