Why Planes Don’t Fly in Extreme Heat

“Flight 503 has been canceled. We apologize for the inconvenience.” That might come as a shocker when you’re sitting in the departure lounge looking at the gorgeous bright sunny weather outside. If there’s not a raincloud or snowstorm in sight, then what gives? Oh yeah, planes can’t fly in extreme heat! In the summer of…

Why There Are No Parachutes on Passenger Planes

Our world is like a great kettle, filled with strange theories and ordinary knowledge, seasoned with exciting discoveries. And some diced carrots. Kind of a big existential stew, if you get me. For example: recently, I discovered the existence of special, super-big parachutes… for airplanes! It got me thinking: if even an airplane can have…

11 Strange Traditions Pilots Didn’t Want to Explaine

Ever seen an airplane going through an arch of water between two fire trucks at the airport? Me neither, but I’d assume the aircraft is just getting a nice cleaning. But wait, why would they use firetrucks to wash an airplane? The short answer is, they don’t! Sometimes, on very special occasions, a usually even…

What Happens When You Hide in the Landing Gear of a Plane

It’s raining men, hallelujah, it’s raining men, amen. So goes the famous 1982 hit by The Weather Girls, It’s Raining Men. Yet for a woman in London on the 30th of June of this year, it was literally raining men- or rather a single man, who fell to his death and landed in the garden…

Why Some Planes Have Backwards Wings

When you picture an airplane, a pretty familiar shape comes to mind. A long narrow body with two main wings sticking out from the middle, a pair of smaller wings on the back end, and a tail fin in the rear sticking straight up. The wings may be straight or swept to the back, but…

What Happens When Lightning Strikes a Plane

It was a cold rainy day in October of 2016. Huge balls of hail crashed into the ground. In short, it wasn’t a good day to fly, and Wow Air Flight 404 headed from Reykjavík, Iceland to Paris, France would soon understand why… That iconic fuchsia-colored plane was struck by a massive bolt of lightning…

Miraculous Plane Landing on New Orleans Levee

NARRATOR: It’s a rough ride aboard a 737 on descent in the wilderness. A violent thunderstorm has caught the pilots off guard. Ask the flight attendants to take their seats. [THUNDER] CAPTAIN: Flight attendants, please take your seats. [RAIN AND THUNDER] NARRATOR: Suddenly, less than 17,000 feet from the ground, the flight becomes all the…

Why Planes Fly So Low

So you like to fly? Well, the average cruising altitude of a commercial airplane is between 31,000 and 38,000 ft. At this altitude, the air becomes thinner. As a result, aircraft can travel more easily and, even more importantly, burn less fuel. So, can’t modern planes rise even higher than that? Or even fly to…

Why Planes Can’t Move in Reverse

I was flying to San Diego the other day, and after having nestled into my window seat, I started to watch the other airplanes taxiing around. And suddenly, I realized that I’d never seen a single plane moving backward on it’s own . So, the question was, “Can airplanes actually move in reverse?” Despite what…

Why Wings Don’t Fall Off Planes

Wings. Ah those delicious Buffalo style chicken wings. I actually had those in Buffalo. Just love em! Especially when they’re hot and spicy! You…uh ‘scuse me. Oh, not that kind of wing? The airplane kind? Got it. Alright — let’s start over shall we? Even if you don’t know anything else about airplanes, you know…