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NEWS & BLOG

UP IN THE AIR: FIVE KEY FACTS

31 July 2015


How are vapour trails created?

The white lines we see behind a plane in the sky are vapour trails, or condensation trails. The fuel used in planes is a hydrocarbon, which means that, when burnt, it produces carbon dioxide and water. Due to the extremely high temperature of the engines, the water turns into a gas and is expelled from the engine. Once it meets the cold air, it condenses and forms the vapour trails.

Lightning can hit the plane

Don’t worry, this is not as bad as it sounds. In fact, during a lightning storm, one of the safest places you can be is in a metal cage. In addition, all aeroplanes have built-in lighting protection systems to protect the plane against any electrical damage.

It is possible to open the door during flight?

It is physically impossible for a human to open a door when the aeroplane is in motion. This is because the cabin pressure is greater than the pressure outside the plane, sealing and locking the door in place.

Ear popping

Your ears pop as the aircraft increases its altitude and the pressure outside the aircraft becomes thinner. The air trapped in the tubes that link our mouth, nose and ears begins to expand as the plane climbs. This is the discomfort we feel when on a plane. Simply swallow, yawn or hold your nose and blow to relieve the discomfort.

The wings are designed to wobble

If you have ever sat above the wings, you may have noticed that they wobble. Do not worry, they are designed to do this. The wings of larger aircraft can flex as much as three metres. The reason for the wings wobbling is due to the plane moving up and down. Ripples move along the aircraft’s aluminum body and finish at the tip of the wings.

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