Airline Ratings - Common facts

Did You Know?



How much cheaper is flying today?

We all love to complain about the cost of air travel but in fact it has never been cheaper

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Are "Black Boxes" really painted black

The "Black Box" despite it's name is not black!

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What is "IFES or IFE"?

Both of these acronyms refer to "in-flight entertainment".

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What is an "ILS"?

ILS refers to essential equipment used at all of today's major airports

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What is a "Missed Approach"?

A missed approach happens on a daily basis at airports all around the world

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Can you open an aircraft door mid flight?

It is actually impossible to open a door mid flight!

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What are spoilers and what are they used for?

Spoilers are an essential part of the plane and are used to control speed

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How do pilots steer an airliner on the ground?

Pilots are able to steer planes on the ground using a unique ground steering system

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What is "Active Gust Alleviation"?

This is used to minimize the effect of air pockets

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What are all the lights on an airliner?

The lights on an aircraft are used for a multitude of things

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What is underneath the cabin floor?

There is much more under the cabin floor than one would think

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Why are there so many wheels on large airliners?

Aircraft wheels have to hold an incredible amount of weight and are designed especially for the job

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Why do so many airliners look the same?

There is not a lot of variation when it comes to the shape of planes

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Why do some airliners have windshield wipers and others do not?

Pilot visibility is an essential part of flying and there are various ways to ensure that pilots have the best visibility possible

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Why are there coloured stripes on the edges of doors and emergency exits?

These colored stripes help passengers find the door in an emergency evacuation.

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How are airliner tails lighted at night?

They are lighted by high intensity beams that serve a number of purposes

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Why do some jet airliners have "T Tails"?

"T Tails" are as they are to keep the horizontal stabilizer up in "clean air"

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How do Thrust Reverses work?

Thrust reverses have come a long way over the decades

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What are Strakes?

Strakes enhance aerodynamics by directing airflow

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What does the term fly-by-wire mean?

Fly-by-wire refers to a system which transmits signals from the cockpit to the aircraft's control surfaces electronically rather than mechanically

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What is a simulator?

The simulator is one of the greatest advances in aviation safety. Simply, they are an identical replica of a cockpit where pilots can train for any emergency that is so real they are often bathed in perspiration.

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What is the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EPGWS)?

The greatest single advance in the fight against what are called Controlled Flight Into Terrain (mountains) accidents is the Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS). Its installation since 1974 has played a significant part in the dramatic reduction in CFIT accidents -typically crashes into mountains - from 1.20 per 10 million departures to just 0.35.

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How have aircraft cockpits changed over the decades?

Aside from the growth in the size of engines that power today's aircraft, there is possibly no better visual example of the development of aircraft technology than the cockpit.

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What is a HUD and how does it work?

A HUD or Heads-Up Display is a system whereby critical flight data is displayed on a glass screen in front of the pilots so they do not have to look down into the cockpit at critical times such as landing

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What is TCAS and why is it responsible for saving so many lives?

TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) is a system that monitors and tracks other aircraft and advises pilots of both planes if a collision is about to occur and what avoidance action to take.

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How does a jet engine work?

The jet engine is one of the simplest forms of propulsion with essentially one moving part - the central shaft.

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How are airliners flight tested?

Before any new aircraft can carry passengers its must undergo exhaustive testing both on the ground and in the air. This testing lasts over a year

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How often is an aircraft maintained?

Aircraft are constantly monitored for faults or systems failures in-flight and have dedicated systems on board that alert pilots and ground operations centers of any fault instantly. As well as this real time monitoring of systems, aircraft have a rigid schedule which cannot be deviated from. This program maintenance is made up of four checks called A, B, C and D.

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Why do you have to put the window shades up for landing and takeoff?

Window shades must be put up for landing and takeoff in case of a crash. Crew and passengers must be able to see any fire outside

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What are winglets for?

Contrary to what passengers may think, winglets were not invented to give airlines places to put a website address on their aircraft. Although that is indeed a residual usage of the winglet, this innovative aerodynamic structure plays a pivotal role in allowing the safe and efficient operation of modern commercial aircraft.

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How strong is a wing?

Ever looked out the window of a large jet aircraft watching the wing flexing up and down in turbulence? Wings on modern aircraft such as the Boeing 787 can flex as much as 25 feet (7.6m). This equates to 150 per cent of the wings' design load.

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How safe is flying?

In a word it is incredibly safe to fly, particularly if you stay with airlines with excellent records. There are many surveys that give you the odds but possibly none better than The Flying Book by David Blatner.

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What makes up the cost of an airline ticket?

The breakdown of the cost of an airline ticket varies from airline to airline and from short haul to long haul flights. But one thing is constant, airlines make very little profit.

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Why is it so costly to fly short distances

The relatively higher cost of flying short distances is an issue that constantly confounds travelers.

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How much does each airline seat cost?

It may look like any normal seat but looks deceive. It is the most expensive piece of furniture in the world and may cost up to $250,000.

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How is a jet engine tested?

Today's jet engine is without doubt one of the most reliable pieces of machinery that we have created. That reliability has been hard won over decades of testing that date back to the 1930s.

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What are all those noises after take off?

Passengers can sometimes become alarmed at a range of noises that can be heard on board particularly after takeoff and on approach to landing. Rest easy they are almost always landing gear and flap systems at work.

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Why isn't there one large window at each seat anymore?

Initially, airline seats were anchored to the floor at fixed points with one large window for each passenger. However when the jet age arrived aircraft manufacturers developed seat tracks so seats could be easily moved to accommodate increased passenger loads.

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How powerful is the biggest jet engine?

The most powerful jet engine in the world is the General Electric GE90 which powers the Boeing 777-300ER. It produces 100,000lbs of thrust which equates to 185,000hp.

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Why do pilots always reach up to flip switches on the cockpit ceiling?

The aircraft cockpit is complex and full of switches and dials - many of which are on overhead panels above the pilots.

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How many landings before an aircraft's tires are replaced?

Surprisingly few! 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!

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How do aircraft "back-up" from the gate by themselves?

While most aircraft are pushed back from the gate by a ground tug before starting their engines for departure, sometimes a tug is unavailable, or an airport may be too small to have them at every gate.

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