Flying Is the Safest It’s Ever Been

Thanks to advances in technology and new regulations, flying is safer than it has ever been. Numbers show that last year was the safest year for commercial passenger air-travel in recorded history, even though more flights are being taken now more than ever before.

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6 Surprising Facts of Flying

More than 8 million people travel via plane each day. While most people are familiar with the concept of flying, there are several facts associated with this modern method of transportation that often go unnoticed.

1. Flight Attendants Are Paid Only When the Plane Is Moving

While different airlines have their own policy, most only pay their flight attendants when the plane is moving. If it takes an hour for all passengers to board, that’s an hour of unpaid time for the flight attendants. They are generally only paid when the plane is taking off, flying or landing. As a result, many flight attendants complain about flight delays or other issues preventing the plane from moving.

2. Flying Causes Dehydration

Many air travelers feel thirsty upon boarding a plane because of the cabin’s low humidity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the average humidity inside a plane’s cabin is less than 20 percent. To put that number into perspective, most homes have a humidity level of 30 percent to 50 percent. With less moisture vapor in the air, passengers often experience the effects of mild dehydration, including dry mouth, fatigue and itchy skin.

3. All Planes Have Ashtrays But Smoking Is Prohibited

It may sound contradictory, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires all flights in and out of the United States to have an ashtray in the lavatory even though smoking is prohibited. CNN explains that ashtrays provide a safe way for passengers to extinguish their cigarette if they decide to light up even if smoking is prohibited.

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Navigating an Airport Traffic Pattern

Scott Beale Aviation Airport Traffic Pattern

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A Glossary for Aviation Jargon: Part III

If you’ve read my first two blogs on airline jargon, you now know twenty new terms! This is my last segment for the airline glossary, provided nine more words, to make you an expert the next time you travel through an airport. Thanks to Patrick Smith, and his book the Cockpit Confidential, here are the last few terms in this series.

If you’ve ever been on a flight that seemed to have taken forever to leave the terminal, you were probably waiting on “last minute paperwork.” This is typically for a revision to the flight plan or waiting on the maintenance team to get the logbook in order.

In the first of this series, we discussed what was a direct flight. Go back and re-read that definition. A nonstop flight is a flight that does not have any stops between take-off and landing at your destination.

When the flight attendants are asking you to put your electronics in the “off-position,” they are simply just telling you to turn it off.

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A Glossary for Aviation Jargon: Part II

Last month I wrote a blog about popular airline jargon and the various definitions. This month, I’m going to continue that trend and teach you eight new words. With the help of Patrick Smith, and his book the Cockpit Confidential, here are the next few terms in this series.

Pilots and flight attendants have slightly different meanings to the term “final approach.” According to the pilot, the final approach is when the airplane is on its last straight segment of the landing pattern. Simply put, the plane is aligned with the center of the runway for landing. If you were to ask a flight attendant the meaning of “final approach,” they may tell you it’s the last portion of the descent.

As outlined in my past blog, the copilot and the captain are both well equipped and know how to fly the plane. However, the first officer, often referred to as the copilot, sits to the right and is second in command. The first officer will alternate shifts with the captain in the event of a long flight where the captain will need to take a break.

The flight-deck is another term for the cockpit, where the pilots sit.

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A few facts on air turbulence

Air turbulence can be a frightening thing, especially those who have a fear of flying. When the plane shakes violently, some passengers completely lose it. It’s a good thing that many of the things people believe about turbulence are not actually true.


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While there is no radar or sonar technology to detect incoming turbulence as of yet, pilots can find out if there are some rough winds ahead through other pilots in other aircrafts in the vicinity. However, the sky is too vast to have pilots in every section of it reporting turbulence, which means the winds can hit unexpectedly.

As unexpected as air turbulence might be, with the advancement of aviation technology, it’s highly improbable for turbulence alone to bring down a plane. The circumstances have to be extreme; so extreme that the last aircraft downed by turbulence happened over half-a-century ago.

It is also untrue that air turbulence leads to passenger injuries. The estimated number of injuries caused by turbulence according to the Federal Aviation Administration is 35 to 40 cases annually. That’s a rather small number given the fact that over 800 million people fly the friendly skies every year. What’s more those 35 to 40 people are either people who haven’t fastened their seatbelts when told to or flight attendants serving passengers’ needs.


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Scott Beale is the Senior Vice President of Sales and Corporate Development at Tempus Applied Solutions, leading the company in multimillion-dollar contract management and strategic planning with managed assets of more than $50 million. Visit this blog to know more about the aviation industry.