Category Archives: Aviation

8 Airplane Movie Myths Busted by a Airline Pilot(KLM)

Who doesn’t love going to the movies? Getting lost in political intrigue, holding your breath during a tense space battle, feeling watery-eyed watching two lovers reunite. What I can’t stand in the movies though, is bad aviation myths. It’s frustrating as an aviation professional to sit through the millions of unapologetic moments of misinformation the movie studios keep dishing out to our traveling guests. So, for this blog I’ve decided to set the record straight. Here are my top 8 aviation movie myths, debunked.8 Airplane Movie Myths Busted by a Airline Pilot(KLM)

1. An airplane is full of secret crawl spaces

I think “Flightplan” (Touchstone Pictures, 2005) was the worst one for this. Jodie Foster’s uncovering all sorts of hidden passageways made Jennifer Connelley’s adventure in “Labyrinth” (Jim Henson Company, 1986) look like the morning trip out of bed to the bathroom.

The truth is on board real estate is at a premium. Effectively every centimeter of space that can be spared is used with the exception of the passenger cabin (we want you to enjoy the space we offer you on board our planes!). Maintenance staff know very well how tight their access spaces to on board systems are, and where some larger aircraft will have the odd panel that, with the right screwdriver, will let you move from the passenger cabin to the cargo hold, you’ll first need to move a few seats aside and roll back the carpet. Trust me, it’s no maze of mystery.

2. Lose an engine and it’s all over

This one always gets me groaning audibly in disappointment. Even single-engine aircraft can easily survive losing an engine; There are examples of planes losing their only engine and gliding in safely for a powerless landing. As for aircraft with two or more engines? Well that’s why they’ve got two or more engines! Aircraft are designed so that even during take-off, if an engine fails at the critical point where we can’t stop safely on the runway anymore, we can still take-off, climb out, fly around, land, and even abandon the approach and climb back out (go-around). It’s called n-1 (n = number of engines) in the biz, and it’s something each pilot trains multiple times a year in the simulator.

3. Turbulence? The cabin lights will flash dramatically, the oxygen masks will drop!

I blame my mother’s fear of flying on this one (yes, fancy that!), as any kind of turbulence what-so-ever gets her squeezing the armrests for dear life. The truth is turbulence is a natural consequence of flying. The earth’s atmosphere is rarely perfectly smooth, and turbulence is the result of these millions of tiny variations in air speed, direction, and density; Think of it as the ‘road’ the plane’s ‘driving’ on. Because it’s such a natural thing, aircraft manufacturers make sure they test new airplanes in the worst possible conditions.

Every airplane’s wings are tested to withstand 150% of the maximum stress they will ever encounter, including turbulence. Even the on board systems, including the lights, are built to take a good beating. As for the oxygen masks, they’re equally secure in their little boxes, and will only come down either when the pilots presses a button in the cockpit, the cabin pressure drops suddenly, or if you have an exceptionally hard landing that jolts the automatic cabin pressure trigger. Turbulence could never generate enough force to pop those compartments open.

4. A hole in the side of the plane will suck everyone out

“Final Destination” (New Line Cinema, 2000), “Air Force One” (Columbia Pictures, 1997), and even James Bond (MGM Studios) have all played with this one. It’s as if the airplane was in the cold dark vacuum of space. It’s true that the air pressure outside at cruising altitude is lower inside the aircraft, but it’s not enough to go full vacuum cleaner the moment you pop a hole in the side of the plane. Initially there will be a rush of air, enough to blow loose papers and items of clothing around. About one second later, the pressure inside and outside equalizes, and you’re just left with air rushing past the hole in the fuselage. It will be noisy, it will be cold (thermodynamics, lower air pressures create lower temperatures), and your oxygen mask will drop, but it won’t be those images of baddies being sucked into oblivion as 007 grips onto the gold-frilled curtains for dear life.

5. The airplane doors can be opened in flight

Maybe back in 1932, yes, when aircraft weren’t pressurized either. Modern aircraft are pressurized, and are designed to use this to their advantage; all airplane doors, including the over-wing exit hatches, are designed like plugs. They all open by somehow sliding or rotating inwards into the cabin before opening outwards through the doorframe. This works because both the door and fuselage are curved. Flush against this frame, the door is stuck into the curved shape like a plug. Put it at any other angle, and it barely slips through the curved doorframe of the fuselage. Since the doors and hatches have to be pulled inwards to be opened, this also means that in flight the pressure differential pushes the door or hatch shut against the seals in the frame. If you want to open it, you’ll be pulling against an impossibly huge amount of force (for those math nerds, it’s about 7.8 psi, or 5.490kg/m2. Calculate that by the surface area of the door, and you’ll see that the door ain’t moving).

Opening door aircraft

6. Aviation fuel can always explode into flames

“Con Air” (Touchstone, 1997) was hilarious. The scene where the airplane barrels down the Las Vegas strip, losing it’s wings and leaving a fuel-infused inferno behind it still makes me giggle. The truth is aviation fuel is actually designed to be quite flame resistant as a liquid. We use “Jet A-1”, kerosene with additives to make it resistant to freezing or evaporation within a large temperature range (in the order of -50c to +70c), and I could quite happily extinguish a lit match in a glass of the stuff. The story becomes different however if you spray it, as this creates an ideal mixture ratio with the oxygen in the air for it to burn. Jet engines are designed to do this with complex nozzles and fuel/air ‘swirlers’ in their combustion sections. Knocking the wings off sliding dramatically down the strip whilst gallons of fuel waterfall out of the middle of the fuselage is more likely going to extinguish that stray cigarette butt on the road.

7. Lightning will blow up a plane

Lightning actually hits aircraft far more often than you’d know. On average, every aircraft will experience one lightning strike a year, that’s more than 50 strikes a day, worldwide. And whilst it can be a frightening experience for passengers, the reality is not much happens. It was a different story back in 1962, when investigators found lightning as the most likely cause for the loss of a PanAm Boeing 707. Since then all aircraft have been designed to deal with lightning properly. Lighting won’t create a spark in the fuel tank or overload on board electrical systems. And on top of this all, when lightning does strike, pretty much all of the charge stays on the outside of the airframe anyway. Airplanes are designed as a metallic “Faraday” cage covered with a skin, which conducts electricity around the outside of the cabin, cargo compartments, and fuel tanks. It’s why when you see YouTube videos of lightning strikes, you’ll see the bolt enters one part of the plane, and leave another. The plane becomes part of the lightning bolt’s route to the ground.

Lightning and aircraft

8. Losing the autopilot will cause the aircraft to crash

I always have to think about the movie “Cabin Pressure” (Crescent Entertainment, 2002), where the autopilot gets hacked and the crew on board can’t control the aircraft anymore. Ridiculous, if funny. The reality is every aircraft is designed with several levels of redundancy in every system, and the autopilot is no exception. All medium to large commercial passenger aircraft have two, sometimes three, separate autopilot computers, each of which can fly the airplane on their own. And even if that fails, pilot’s are trained to fly a plane, not just control the autopilot. We can even dispatch for a flight if the autopilot is broken, flying manually with a couple of additional safety restrictions. Think of the autopilot as a trained monkey that turns the crank on a mechanical organ. The pilots tell the ‘monkey’ how fast to turn the crank, and if the monkey passes out the pilots can still turn the crank themselves (poor monkey).

So that’s Hollywood debunked for you. I hope I haven’t ruined too many movie moments for you, but I do hope I’ve made you feel a bit more comfortable about how safe flying really is. If you want to watch a good aviation movie, I would have to recommend my favorite, the 1980 classic “Airplane!” (Paramount Pictures, 1980). Yes, I’m serious (Shirley), even with all it’s stupid gags, it remains one of the most accurate aviation films out there.

So the next time you have the bad luck to get stuck in turbulence, spare a thought for that other person staring intently at the lights, waiting for the masks to drop, and praying a lightning bolt doesn’t blast a hole in the side and suck everyone out into oblivion. Hmm, maybe I should try my luck at screenwriting!

by   on KLM

How often are the “Airplane Tires Replaced” on an Airbus A380?

An A380 super jumbo tires will only last about 300 landings which is about six months of operations. And they cost $92,000 each to replace!

Flight crew or a maintenance personnel would inspect the tires before take-off regularly in-order to check any damage or wear.How often are the tires replaced

The specific number of landings-per-tire is affected by such variable factors as weather, hard landings, cross-wind landings, anti-skid action, and rough or damaged runway surfaces. These can all have an effect on the condition of the rubber surrounding the tire’s core, even creating differences in tire condition from one set of landing gear to another on the same airplane. Yes, modern automobiles may be driven up to 50,000 miles on only one set of tires, but unlike airliners, those tires aren’t constantly being flown into concrete at 200 kilometers per hour!

Aircraft tires do not typically have a definitive lifespan. Variables such as weather, hard landings, cross-wind landings, anti-skid action and rough or damaged runway surfaces all have an effect on the condition of the rubber surrounding the tire’s core.

Recapped or retreaded tires is standard procedure in aviation and is regarded as being the most economical and safe method for maintaining proper landing gear function.
Some recapped tires will last for up to 100 landings, while others will need replacement far sooner.

The tires on an Airbus 380 jet will last for approximately 300 landings, which is approximately six months of operations.
There are 22 tires on an A380, four more than a Boeing 747 and eight more than a Boeing 777.

Pilots and cabin crew reveal the things they look out for when they’re PASSENGERS

Flying is an ordeal for nervous fliers partly because planes are one big mystery to them and they don’t know whether the various sounds and movements they experience on board signify danger or not.

But it’s different for pilots and cabin crew who board as passengers, because they obviously know a bit more about aircraft.

Helpfully, some of them have revealed what they look out for when they’re in the cabin that regular flyers might not notice, from flight deck announcements to the clues from cabin crew that turbulence is expected on the landing approach.

Pilots and cabin crew have been revealing the clues that might indicate that something isn't right


‘Dan Air’, who hosts the Confessions of a Trolley Dolly website, said that he never switches off, even when he’s a passenger, and always goes through an emergency procedure review mentally on take-off and landing.

He told MailOnline Travel: ‘When you’re cabin crew or a pilot you never switch off when you’re on board an aircraft as a passenger. It’s just impossible to do. Every call bell that chimes, every ‘bing-bong’ of a phone call between the crew or the flight deck you find yourself looking up. I think it just gets instilled in you from training to always be vigilant and as we spend so much time on an aircraft it’s hard to just be a passenger.

‘Of course this can be a good thing. If there is an emergency or some sort of problem in the cabin them it’s great to have other crew members on board. They become an additional pair of eyes and ears to help out should the proverbial hit the fan.

‘When we are coming in to land or during take-off when I am travelling as a passenger I find myself moving in to my take-off or landing position, the way we are meant to sit when operating as crew. I also carry out my “silent review/30 second review”, which is where we run through our emergency procedures should there be an unplanned incident and we have to evacuate the aircraft.’

A Dreamliner captain told MailOnline Travel that he always listens out for the purser – the head steward – being summoned to the cockpit.

He said: ‘Once airborne it’s always worth listening out for “will the purser report to the flight deck immediately” on the PA – a sure-fire sign that there is a problem… or that the skipper needs another coffee!’

He added: ‘It is also good to see the cabin crew take their cabin preparation seriously – no items left out that can roll/fly around in the event of a rejected takeoff – and that they conduct the safety demonstration properly.

‘And on normal days I look for leaking fluids, open panels and such.’

A thread about what pilots and cabin crew notice when they’re passengers appeared on Quora.

On this former pilot Tom Farrier said he always listens out for unusual sounds, sniffs for bizarre smells and observes the angle of the sun.

He explained: ‘Sounds are always useful, but a passenger cabin is often pretty isolated from any sounds that might be indicative of a problem.

‘Smells on the other hand travel around quite freely, and some (e.g fuel, hydraulic fluid, superheated bleed air) are pretty distinctive.

‘An unexpected, significant shift in the angle of the sun can be your first sign that a course change is being made.

‘Lots of chiming summoning the flight attendants to the intercom is another cue worth noting.’

Retired U.S airline pilot John Chesire added that he looks for the nearest emergency exit – and counts the seats between him and the door.

He wrote: ‘I count the number of seats between me and that exit. It only takes a quick glance.

‘I do this so if ever necessary, I can in the dark, or under water, or if there is smoke, or if upside down, I know beforehand where the exit is, and I can blindly count the number of seats by touch to reach that emergency exit row, because I have counted them. It’s quick and easy to do, every time.’

While fellow pilot Michael Cohn admits he always listens out for the engine noise during take-off.

473FDBCE00000578-5170867-image-a-2_1513082723588One pilot said that lots of chiming summoning the flight attendants to the intercom is a ‘cue worth noting’

He explained: ‘As a pilot of very small planes, I don’t really know a lot about the tasks involved in operating the big ones.

‘But I do pay attention to the sound of the engines on take-off (a failed engine at this point is not a good thing), the cabin pressure changes that tell me about changes in altitude and the smells.’

Former cabin crew member Brent Beacham, meanwhile, divulged a major clue that turbulence is expected on landing.

A Dreamliner captain told MailOnline Travel that he always listens out for the purser being summoned to the cockpit

He wrote: ‘As cabin crew for a major American airline that shall remain nameless we can prepare for landing before the captain advises.

‘An alert seasoned cabin crew flying into LAS (Las Vegas) in the summer, for example, will know to expect a bumpy ride, from hot air rising off the ground, on approach.

‘A pilot might or might not take this into consideration and might give a lower altitude prep time in the middle of the bumps.

‘Again a seasoned crew will know to wrap things up approximately 20 minutes out before the bumps start.

‘So as a passenger if I saw the cabin crew preparing the cabin early and hear the landing announcement I would know to expect turbulence.’

And Hachi Ko, another former airline pilot, said one thing he always does as a passenger is try to work out when the plane hits 10,000 feet during the descent. At this point a ‘ding’ will sound in the cabin as the seatbelt signs light up – and he tries to anticipate this.

He wrote: ‘Most passengers don’t notice the level-off that often occurs when the airplane is about to enter the approach environment or descend below 10,000 feet.

‘When I feel that little level-off for the airplane to slow, I imagine the pilots going through the checklist, and at the right time, I turn to my companion and go “Ding!”

‘I’m within four or five seconds well over 50 per cent of the time and it freaks them out. Just a useless little thing that I’ve somehow developed a knack for.’


Real life Transformers? Plans to build hybrid helicopter-plane to change aviation FOREVER

AIR travel could be changed forever if plans to build a helicopter-plane hybrid get off the ground.


INFLUENCE: The Ka-90 is similar in design to the American V22 OspreyThe Russian-built Ka-90 will theoretically take off and land like a copter but cruise as an aeroplane.

The craft was first presented at the 2008 HeliRussia international exhibition in Moscow.

It will reportedly use a shortened helicopter rotor for take-off and landing.


It will theoretically take off like a chopper and cruise like an aeroplane“We expect that development will soon reach a more practical stage, outlining a preliminary design”

Head of the Russian Kamov Development Design Bureau, Oleg ZheltovWhen it reaches 250mph a jet engine turns on and its rotor folds on the back of the aircraft.

It is expected to reach speeds of 430-500mph in “airplane mode”.

Head of the Russian Kamov Development Design Bureau, Oleg Zheltov, told Sputnik: “This work is under way.

“We expect that development will soon reach a more practical stage, outlining a preliminary design.”

Researchers are now designing potential models and carrying out tests in wind tunnels.

The concept was originally proposed during the Cold War in 1985 but shelved after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

It is similar to the SAS’s £43 million heli-plane nicknamed the “Transformer”.

The V22 Osprey – built by the US military – is twice as fast as the unit’s current flee of transport helicopter, has a top speed of 360mph and can carry at least 24 fully-equipped personnel.

Last month, Daily Star Online revealed the Boom jet – an airliner that will take passengers from New York to London in just three hours and 15 minutes.

The company is in talks with another 20 carriers, with that number tipped to swell after it featured at the Dubai Airshow.

The Boom passenger plane will hold 55 passengers, with a mini version of the jet – called Boom XB-1 – set for its debut test flight by the end of 2018.

5 Reasons No Nation Wants to Go to War with the U.S. Air Force

5 weapons, that is.  Dave Majumdar  The Air Force’s tiny fleet of twenty Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bombers is the only long-range

The Air Force’s tiny fleet of twenty Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bombers is the only long-range penetrating strike asset in the service’s arsenal. No other aircraft in the Air Force inventory has the range to take off from the continental United States and strike at targets on the other side of the globe inside highly contested airspace. The B-2 has an unrefueled range of around 6000 nautical miles, but that can be extended to around 10,000 with aerial refueling.

The U.S. Air Force is by far the most capable air arm on the planet. In addition to proper training and rigorous doctrine, the Air Force needs modern weapons to keep ahead of potential competitors. Over the past decade, America’s lead in the air has started to erode as Russia has slowly been recovering from the collapse of the Soviet Union [3] and China has begun to remerge as a superpower [4]. Nonetheless, these following five systems are the backbone of the U.S. Air Force and should continue to hold the advantage for some time to come if ever the unthinkable occurred:

Boeing LGM-30G “Minuteman III” Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

Though strategic nuclear deterrence has become less prominent since the end of the Cold War, the mission remains the single most important one for the Air Force. The backbone of America’s nuclear deterrence remains the 1960s-vintage LGM-30G Minuteman III [5]. Some 450 of these missiles form the land-based component of the so-called nuclear triad.

(This first appeared in 2014 and is being reposted due to reader interest.)

Over the years, the long-serving missile has been modified and upgraded with better guidance systems and new rocket motors. Though originally designed to be fitted with three multiple independent reentry vehicles each carrying a nuclear warhead, the current version of the missile carries only one 300-kiloton weapon. The United States plans to continue to upgrade that missile, but eventually will have to develop a new ICBM to replace the Minuteman. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.

Recommended: 5 Reasons No Nation Wants to Go to War with Israel [6]

The readiness of the nuclear-missile force has come into question repeatedly over the past several years. A number of officers have been caught cheating in tests—and a number of senior officers have been dismissed as a result. All of that has cast a shadow over the entire force.

Recommended5 Worst Generals in U.S. History [7]

Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit

The Air Force’s tiny fleet of twenty Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bombers is the only long-range penetrating strike asset in the service’s arsenal. No other aircraft in the Air Force inventory has the range to take off from the continental United States and strike at targets on the other side of the globe inside highly contested airspace. The B-2 has an unrefueled range of around 6000 nautical miles, but that can be extended to around 10,000 with aerial refueling.

RecommendedCould the Battleship Make a Comeback? [8]

Nor does any other warplane in the Air Force inventory have the ability to penetrate the kinds of dense air defenses against which the B-2 was designed to operate. The B-2 was designed to fly deep into the heart of the Soviet Union to deliver a payload of thermonuclear bombs in the event of a third world war. While the B-2 has never had occasion to fly that doomsday mission, those same capabilities allow the bomber to strike with near impunity against almost any target around the globe. Further, while fighters like the F-22 [9] or F-35 are very stealthy against high-frequency fire control radars [10], a large flying-wing aircraft like the B-2 is also difficult to track using low frequency radars operating in the UHF and VHF bands.

The problem for the Air Force is that there were only twenty-one B-2s ordered before the first Bush administration terminated the program. Of those twenty-one jets, one has already been lost. Not only is the fleet tiny and in high demand, the bomber has sensitive coatings and is ridiculously expensive to maintain. To make matters worse, potential adversaries like Russia and China are learning to counter the B-2 [11].

The Air Force has a follow-on bomber project called the Long Range Strike-Bomber in the works which is set to become operational in the mid-2020s. The service hopes to acquire between eighty and 100 of the new stealth bombers for a cost of $550 million per jet, which is less than the B-2’s near $2 billion price tag.

Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor

High flying and fast, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth fighter is arguably the best air superiority fighter in existence. In many ways, gaining and maintaining air superiority is the core mission for the service. Only with absolute control of the air and space can ground and sea surface elements maneuver unchallenged.

The F-22 is extremely stealthy and is fitted with advanced avionics. Further, it can cruise at supersonic speeds greater than Mach 1.8 at altitudes up to 60,000 ft for extended periods. When operating at lower speeds and altitudes, it has the ability to vector thrust from its engines—which gives it tremendous maneuverability. In short, the Raptor’s combination of sheer speed, altitude, stealth and powerful sensors makes it a lethal killer.

The problem for the Air Force is that there are only 186 Raptors in its inventory—less than half of what it needs. Of those 186, only 120 are “combat coded”—which is Air Force speak for ready for war. There are only six operational Raptor squadrons, one operational training squadron and a handful of test and training assets at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and Edwards Air Force Base in California. Those squadrons are also smaller than the typical Air Force fighter units. Raptor squadrons only have twenty-one jets and two attrition reserve planes. By contrast, a typical fighter squadron normally has twenty-four jets and two spares.

The Air Force is starting to investigate follow-ons to the Raptor with the F-X program.

Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle

The F-15E Strike Eagle [12] is the long-range heavy hitter of the Air Force’s fighter fleet. The Air Force has 213 of these dual-role fighters, which replaced the long-serving General Dynamic F-111 strike aircraft.

Unlike the air superiority–focused F-15C/D from which it was derived, the Strike Eagle is primarily a strike aircraft. It has far greater range and payload capacity than any other fighter in the Air Force inventory. But even with the added air-to-ground role, the F-15E remains a respectable fighter—especially in beyond-visual-range engagements.

The F-15E, like many aircraft in the Air Force’s ageing inventory, will continue to serve well into the 2030s. The service is upgrading the jets with new Raytheon APG-82 active electronically scanned array radars and other modern hardware, but a number of pilots complained that foreign versions of the jet are far better equipped. Meanwhile, while the upgrades will keep the Strike Eagle relevant into the 2030s, the Air Force has no plans to replace the venerable jets.

Originally, the Air Force had hoped to replace the Strike Eagle with a version of the F-22 Raptor, but those plans died when then defense secretary Robert Gates cancelled that program. One senior Air Force official suggested that the service should extend the production of the future LRS-B stealth bomber to fill the gap—but said that was his personal opinion, rather than service policy.

Boeing KC-135

While often overlooked, what makes the U.S. Air Force unique amongst the world’s air forces is its ability to hit targets around the globe. The KC-135 aerial refueling tanker [13] is what enables American air power to conduct its missions. That’s not just for the Air Force; the Navy and Marine Corps’ aviation assets are also dependent on the air arm’s “big wing” tankers to carry out their missions.

The Eisenhower-era KC-135 is old, and it needs to be replaced urgently. The Air Force has made several abortive attempts to recapitalize part of the fleet over the past two decades. The current Boeing KC-46 tanker effort will replace a part of the massive KC-135 fleet. However, even with the addition of 179 KC-46 tankers by 2028, the bulk of the fleet will remain KC-135s. The Air Force hopes to conduct follow-on competitions to replace the remainder of the fleet eventually.

— This story originally appeared in The National Interest CLICK HERE —