Air travel is exciting. There’s nothing quite like stepping onto a plane that takes you across the ocean to a new land you’ve never visited before. But it can also be scary. Those planes are big, and they make a lot of noise, and did we mention they’re thousands of feet up in the air? How the heck do they stay up there, anyway?
Maybe knowing a little more about planes would amp up the excitement and alleviate any nerves. Planes are a man-made wonder, given all they can do. And they’ve come a long, long way since the days of the Wright Brothers. So let’s check out the Top 10 Coolest Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Airplanes. After you read this list, you’ll want to book your airline tickets now.
- Red and green lights could save your life.
We’ve all seen those flashing lights on airplanes, and they all have different meanings. The only two you need to worry about are the red and green ones. You’ll find the red light on the left-wing and the green light on the right-wing. They let other pilots know which way the planes are flying, especially in the dark, that way they don’t hit each other. It sounds like a good idea for us.
- Bathrooms are private. Sort of.
Airplanes have tiny bathrooms. We already know that. But at least they’re private. Well, kinda. You can lock them from the inside, sure, but flight attendants have a special trick they can use to unlock them from the outside. It doesn’t happen often, but if there’s an emergency, like a sick traveler or someone who might be up to no good, they can use a hidden switch on the outside of the door to get in there fast.
- Airplane tires can’t pop.
Well, they can, but it’s really, really difficult. They’re designed to endure repeated landings at almost 200 miles per hour and bear incredible weight loads. Airplane tires hold 6 times the pressure of car tires, which means their chances of popping are almost impossible. At worst, the treads will wear down and the tires will need to be replaced. If that happens, the crew just jack the plane up like a car and change them out.
- Lighting strikes happen regularly.
Yes, planes get hit by lightning more than you probably ever realized. The rule of thumb is that a plane will be struck once for every 1,000 hours of flight time. The good news is that aeronautical engineers are well aware of this. So even if it comes as a surprise to you, it doesn’t to them. Planes are built to withstand lightning strikes. The electricity runs right through a plane without causing any damage. You won’t even know it hit you.
- Planes will never run out of fuel.
Airlines know precisely how much fuel they need to get to their planes to the next destination. There’s no guesswork involved, it’s carefully calculated by aviation specialists. But just in case, the FAA requires that all planes carry an abundance of backup fuel. That way if something goes wrong, they can still land safely, even if it’s at an alternate destination.
- The flight crew has a secret bedroom.
This isn’t something you’ll find on every flight, only long-distance ones. Chances are if you’re crossing oceans and continents, your flight crew is putting in 16-hour workdays. They need someplace to get a little sleep, and the airlines have come up with a solution. Inside large planes, there’s a hidden spiral staircase that leads to a tiny room with up to 10 beds and a bathroom. Flight crew shares the space so they can rest up during the flight.
- Dim lights help your eyes adjust.
Have you ever noticed flight attendants dimming the lights as you touch down during a night flight? That’s to help your eyes adjust to the darkness and is in place for your own protection. If something goes wrong on a night landing, it’s easier to get out of the plane if your eyes are already adjusted to the darkness. Quickly exit the plane and see where you’re going without any problems.
- Flying with one engine is perfectly safe.
Hearing that one of your plane’s engines have given out sounds terrifying, but really it’s nothing to worry about. They won’t be able to go as far and they’ll burn more fuel, but they won’t suddenly fall out of the sky, which is really the important part. Engineers design planes to run on one engine in case of emergencies. In fact, for short distances, they can run on no engine at all! Though we wouldn’t recommend it.
- Pilots can’t share meals.
Even pilots and co-pilots get hungry during a flight, especially if it’s a long one. They can eat whatever meals their airline offers, so long as they don’t eat the same meal. It’s a safety thing. Imagine if the chicken was tainted and the pilot and co-pilot both chose that as their dinner? Passengers would be in some serious trouble. Though it’s incredibly unlikely that an airline’s food will go bad, better safe than sorry.
- Every window has a tiny hole.
This might sound weird, and even scary, but every window on an airplane has a tiny hole in it. It’s so small you probably won’t see it even if you try. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal and there for a reason. The holes help regulate air cabin pressure and are there in case of emergency. Should something go wrong, it’s easier to break the windows and get out if there’s already a tiny hole in them.
So what do you think? Pretty amazing stuff, right? Airplanes really are modern marvels. Get anywhere in the entire world in hours, not days. Cross oceans, mountains, and entire continents on your journey. And planes are continuously evolving. They’re only going to get better, cooler, and safer. All good things, don’t you think?
If you’ve never taken a trip on a plane, take a chance and book your flight now. Just have a look at your Newverest Trek Scratcher and pick the location you most want to visit. Don’t be afraid, just do it. Life is about the journey, after all. And when you get back, you can mark your travels on your Newverest map so you’ll never forget the amazing adventures you’ve had. Have fun and happy traveling!