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Horrifying moment wheel falls off plane during take-off

<p>Video footage has captured the horrifying moment a wheel fell off a United Airlines Boeing plane just moments after take off on Monday morning. </p> <p>The video captured by RadarBox shows the tire coming loose from the aircraft's undercarriage and plummeting to the ground seconds after take off. </p> <p>The airline confirmed that a wheel fell off the plane as the flight departed Los Angeles International airport en route to Denver, but it safely touched down around three hours later. </p> <p>None of the 174 passengers or seven crew members on board were injured. </p> <div class="embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: none !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; vertical-align: baseline; width: 573px; max-width: 100%; outline: none !important;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7389507936625691920&display_name=tiktok&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40theprojecttv%2Fvideo%2F7389507936625691920%3Fq%3Dboeing%2520wheel%26t%3D1720568253683&image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign-sg.tiktokcdn.com%2Fobj%2Ftos-alisg-p-0037%2FoEEROKIMm2EpV6DrBgf3FeAUB4EjlBg0BMjmzE%3Flk3s%3Db59d6b55%26nonce%3D85756%26refresh_token%3D9848a1a77a4d011f7ceeb76a41229609%26x-expires%3D1720738800%26x-signature%3DKRkuV5%252BXkjrhdVj9cxtL5oLH5ow%253D%26shp%3Db59d6b55%26shcp%3D-&key=5b465a7e134d4f09b4e6901220de11f0&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>  </p> <p> </p> <p>A United spokesperson said that the wheel has been found in Los Angeles and they are investigating the cause. </p> <p>“The wheel has been recovered in Los Angeles, and we are investigating what caused this event,” the statement read. </p> <p>It is not known whether it caused any damage on the ground. </p> <p>The incident comes just four months after a Japan-bound Boeing airlines carrying 249 passengers also lost a wheel not long after take off in San Francisco. </p> <p>The flight, that took place in March. was diverted to LAX where it landed safely. The wheel reportedly damaged some vehicles in an airport parking lot. </p> <p><em>Images: CaliPlanes/ Youtube</em></p> <p> </p>

Travel Trouble

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The surprising reason commercial planes are painted white

<p dir="ltr">Up until the middle of the last century, airplanes would fly through the sky unpainted as shiny silver tubes. </p> <p dir="ltr">But now, we are so used to seeing plane bodies being painted white, with the exception of the airline’s logo and a splash of colour on the plane’s tail. </p> <p dir="ltr">But this drastic look isn’t just about style and uniformity, as there is a simple reason why plane bodies are left plain. </p> <p dir="ltr">First of all, white paint jobs will show wear and tear a lot quicker on huge commercial planes and while this might not be ideal for a car or house, it's perfect for planes.</p> <p dir="ltr">From takeoff to landing, a plane goes through a lot. While the aircrafts are always deemed safe for flying, it'll likely suffer minor cosmetic damages as it hurtles through the sky at 900 kilometres per hour.</p> <p dir="ltr">Due to the frequent minor chips and scratches a plane has inflicted, using the white paint helps engineers and maintenance teams to spot any of these issues with ease. </p> <p dir="ltr">Another reason that white is uniform in the skies is because white paint is going to fade at a much slower rate than a darker shade. </p> <p dir="ltr">As planes fly above the clouds, they're exposed to a lot of UV rays which speeds up the process of the paint fading.</p> <p dir="ltr">Lastly, it's been found that birds can spot planes against the sky easier when they're painted all-white, as sometimes in rare occasions, birds can pose a safety risk.</p> <p dir="ltr">It wasn’t until 50 years ago that airlines started painting their planes, with Air France being credited for starting the movement in the 1970s. </p> <p dir="ltr">"Since Air France introduced the first 'Euro-white' livery in 1976, the all-white fuselage look has become increasingly standard for the world's airlines," aviation historian Shea Oakley told Travel + Leisure. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Travel Tips

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The wild reason woman is suing her boyfriend

<p dir="ltr">A woman from New Zealand is suing her boyfriend after he failed to give her a lift to the airport, causing her to miss her flight. </p> <p dir="ltr">The woman, who has remained anonymous, asked her partner to pick her up from home and drop her at the airport, but he failed to show up. </p> <p dir="ltr">As a result, she missed her flight and was forced to travel the following day, missing a concert she had tickets for. </p> <p dir="ltr">The woman was so enraged that she took her partner of six years to the Disputes Tribunal to try and get him to cover some of the money she’d lost.</p> <p dir="ltr">The woman also wanted to be compensated because her boyfriend had not stayed at her house while she was away to look after her dogs, which he had agreed to do.</p> <p dir="ltr">She claimed their agreement had constituted a legally binding agreement and was seeking to be paid travel costs and the cost of putting her dogs in kennels.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tribunal referee Krysia Cowi said in a statement, “partners, friends and colleagues make social arrangements, but it is unlikely they can be legally enforced unless the parties perform some act that demonstrates an intention that they will be bound by their promises”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“When friends fail to keep their promises, the other person may suffer a financial consequence but it may be that they cannot be compensated for that loss,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Cowie said the promises made within the relationship fell short of a contract and dismissed the woman’s case, with the couple breaking up as a result. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Legal

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Bird strike: what happens when a plane collides with a bird?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/doug-drury-1277871">Doug Drury</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p>Late last night, Virgin Australia flight VA 148 set out from Queenstown in New Zealand bound for Melbourne. Not long after takeoff, the right engine of the Boeing 737-800 jet started <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/virgin-australia-flight-makes-emergency-landing-after-engine-catches-fire/iquv5w1is">emitting loud bangs</a>, followed by flames.</p> <p>The pilot flew on with the remaining engine, bringing the plane’s 73 passengers and crew to a safe emergency landing at nearby Invercargill airport.</p> <p>Virgin Australia says the dramatic turn of events was caused by a “possible bird strike”. Queenstown Airport <a href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/aviation/bird-strike-blamed-for-fiery-virgin-australia-emergency-out-of-queenstown/news-story/9ef5c57829d0535baed223d2caf0b55f">played down</a> the likelihood of bird strike, saying “no birds were detected on the airfield at that time”.</p> <p>While we don’t know exactly what happened, bird strike is a common and real risk for aircraft. It can damage planes, and even lead to deaths.</p> <h2>How common are bird strikes?</h2> <p>A bird strike is a <a href="https://skyaviationholdings.com/bird-strikes-on-planes/">collision between</a> an aircraft and a bird. (Though the definition is sometimes expanded to include <a href="https://aawhg.org/">collisions on the ground</a> with land animals including deer, rabbits, dogs and alligators.)</p> <p>The <a href="https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/icwdm_usdanwrc/1459/">first bird strike</a> was recorded by Orville Wright in 1905, over a cornfield in Ohio.</p> <p>Now they happen every day, with some seasonal variability due to the <a href="https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/aim_html/chap7_section_5.html">migratory patterns</a> of birds.</p> <p>Perhaps the most famous migratory bird strike occurred in 2009, when <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Airways_Flight_1549">US Airways Flight 1549</a> encountered a flock of migrating Canadian geese shortly after taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York. Both of the plane’s engines failed, and captain Sully Sullenberger was forced to pilot it to an unpowered landing in the Hudson River.</p> <p>Between 2008 and 2017, the Australian Transport Safety Board recorded <a href="https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/2018/ar-2018-035">16,626 bird strikes</a>. In America, the Federal Aviation Administration reported <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2023/04/25/bird-strike-plane-american-airlines/">17,200 bird strikes</a> in 2022 alone.</p> <h2>Where do bird strikes happen, and what are the effects?</h2> <p>According to the <a href="https://www.icao.int/Pages/default.aspx">International Civil Aviation Organization</a>, 90% of bird strikes happen near airports. In general, this is while aircraft are taking off or landing, or flying at lower altitudes where most bird activity occurs.</p> <p>The effect of bird strike depends on many factors including the type of aircraft. Outcomes may include shutting down an engine, as may have happened with the Virgin Australia flight. This plane was a Boeing 737-800, which has the capability to fly on a single engine to an alternate airport.</p> <p>In smaller aircraft, particularly single-engine aircraft, bird strikes can be fatal. Since 1988, <a href="https://aawhg.org/#:%7E:text=The%20majority%20happen%20at%20low,billion%20in%20aircraft%20damage%20annually.">262 bird strike fatalities</a> have been reported globally, and 250 aircraft destroyed.</p> <h2>How do manufacturers and pilots defend against bird strike?</h2> <p>Most <a href="https://aawhg.org/">bird strikes</a> occur early in the morning or a sunset when birds are most active. Pilots are trained to be vigilant during these times.</p> <p>Radar can be used to <a href="https://detect-inc.com/aircraft-birdstrike-avoidance-radar/?gad_source=1&amp;gclid=Cj0KCQjwvb-zBhCmARIsAAfUI2ullN-s0MdDfzV2Hu9fLfdr8pKQCuyZWsoJfRN2W5s-tSm6Vo0wHgwaAgBMEALw_wcB">track flocks of birds</a>. However, this technology is ground-based and not available worldwide so it can’t be used everywhere.</p> <p>The two largest manufacturers of passenger jets, Boeing and Airbus, use <a href="https://aerospaceengineeringblog.com/jet-engine-design/">turbofan engines</a>. These use a series of fan blades to compress air before adding fuel and flame to get the thrust needed to take off.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lgspIiTFWIk?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Engine manufacturers test how well they are likely to stand up to a bird strike.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>Bird strike in one of these engines can cause severe damage to the fan blades, causing the engine to fail. Engine manufacturers test the safety of these engines by firing <a href="https://www.aerospacetestinginternational.com/news/engine-testing/faa-proposes-new-engine-test-for-bird-ingestion.html">a high-speed frozen chicken</a> at them while the engine is operating at full thrust.</p> <p>The Australian Government’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority <a href="https://www.casa.gov.au/wildlife-hazard-management">circular on wildlife hazard management</a> outlines what airports should do to keep birds and animals away from the vicinity of the airport. One technique is to use small gas explosions to mimic the sound of a shotgun to deter birds from loitering near the runway. In areas with high bird populations, airports may also use certain grasses and plants that do not attract the birds.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/232702/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/doug-drury-1277871"><em>Doug Drury</em></a><em>, Professor/Head of Aviation, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/bird-strike-what-happens-when-a-plane-collides-with-a-bird-232702">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Trouble

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Almost half the men surveyed think they could land a passenger plane. Experts disagree

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/guido-carim-junior-1379129">Guido Carim Junior</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chris-campbell-1414564">Chris Campbell</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/elvira-marques-1362476">Elvira Marques</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nnenna-ike-1490692">Nnenna Ike</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tim-ryley-1253269">Tim Ryley</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p>Picture this: you’re nestled comfortably in your seat cruising towards your holiday destination when a flight attendant’s voice breaks through the silence:</p> <blockquote> <p>Ladies and gentlemen, both pilots are incapacitated. Are there any passengers who could land this plane with assistance from air traffic control?</p> </blockquote> <p>If you think you could manage it, you’re not alone. <a href="https://today.yougov.com/topics/politics/survey-results/daily/2023/01/02/fd798/3">Survey results</a> published in January indicate about one-third of adult Americans think they could safely land a passenger aircraft with air traffic control’s guidance. Among male respondents, the confidence level rose to nearly 50%.</p> <p>Can a person with no prior training simply guide everyone to a smooth touchdown?</p> <p>We’ve all heard stories of passengers who saved the day when the pilot became unresponsive. For instance, last year <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbMoyWukjbs">Darren Harrison</a> managed to land a twin-engine aircraft in Florida – after the pilot passed out – with the guidance of an air traffic controller who also happened to be a flight instructor.</p> <p>However, such incidents tend to take place in small, simple aircraft. Flying a much bigger and heavier commercial jet is a completely different game.</p> <h2>You can’t always rely on autopilot</h2> <p>A pilot spends about 90% of their time monitoring autopilot systems and making sure everything is working as intended. The other 10% is spent managing problems, taxiing, taking off and landing.</p> <p>Takeoffs and landings are arguably the most difficult tasks pilots perform, and are always performed manually. Only on very few occasions, and in a handful of aircraft models, can a pilot use autopilot to land the aircraft for them. This is the exception, and not the rule.</p> <p>For takeoff, the aircraft must build up speed until the wings can generate enough lift to pull it into the air. The pilot must <a href="https://youtu.be/16XTAK-4Xbk?si=66yDo5g5I086Q2y2&amp;t=65">pay close attention</a> to multiple instruments and external cues, while keeping the aircraft centred on the runway until it reaches lift-off speed.</p> <p>Once airborne, they must coordinate with air traffic control, follow a particular path, retract the landing gear and maintain a precise speed and direction while trying to climb.</p> <p>Landing is even more complicated, and requires having precise control of the aircraft’s direction and descent rate.</p> <p><a href="https://youtu.be/u_it9OiTnSM?si=xNZrLB9ZH870LEa3&amp;t=360">To land successfully</a>, a pilot must keep an appropriate speed while simultaneously managing gear and flap configuration, adhering to air traffic regulations, communicating with air traffic control and completing a number of paper and digital checklists.</p> <p>Once the aircraft comes close to the runway, they must accurately judge its height, reduce power and adjust the rate of descent – ensuring they land on the correct area of the runway.</p> <p>On the ground, they will use the brakes and reverse thrust to bring the aircraft to a complete stop before the runway ends. This all happens within just a few minutes.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Nyx4NyMrvOs?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Both takeoff and landing are far too quick, technical and concentration-intensive for an untrained person to pull off. They also require a range of skills that are only gained through extensive training, such as understanding the information presented on different gauges, and being able to coordinate one’s hands and feet in a certain way.</p> <h2>Training a pilot</h2> <p>The journey from student to commercial pilot is a long one. It normally starts with a recreational licence, followed by a private licence, and then a commercial licence (which allows them to fly professionally).</p> <p>Even before stepping into a cockpit, the student must study aerodynamics, air law and flight rules, meteorology, human factors, navigation, aircraft systems, and performance and flight planning. They also need to spend time learning about the specific aircraft they will be flying.</p> <p>Once the fundamentals are grasped, an instructor takes them for training. Most of this training is conducted in small, lightweight aircraft – with a simulator introduced briefly towards the end.</p> <p>During a lesson, each manoeuvre or action is demonstrated by the instructor before the student attempts it. Their attempt may be adjusted, corrected or even terminated early in critical situations.</p> <p>The first ten to fifteen lessons focus on takeoff, landing, basic in-flight control and emergency management. When the students are ready, they’re allowed to “go solo” – wherein they conduct a complete flight on their own. This is a great milestone.</p> <p>After years of experience, they are ready to transition to a commercial aircraft. At this point they might be able to take off and land reasonably well, but they will still undergo extensive training specific to the aircraft they are flying, including hours of advanced theory, dozens of simulator sessions and hundreds of hours of real aircraft training (most of which is done with passengers onboard).</p> <p>So, if you’ve never even learned the basics of flying, your chances of successfully landing a passenger aircraft with air traffic control’s help are close to zero.</p> <h2>Yet, flying is a skill like any other</h2> <p>Aviation training has been democratised by the advent of high-end computers, virtual reality and flight simulation games such as Microsoft’s <a href="https://www.flightsimulator.com/">Flight Simulator</a> and <a href="https://www.x-plane.com/">X-Plane</a>.</p> <p>Anyone can now rig up a desktop flight simulator for a few thousand dollars. Ideally, such a setup should also include the basic physical controls found in a cockpit, such as a control yoke, throttle quadrant and pedals.</p> <p>Flight simulators provide an immersive environment in which professional pilots, students and aviation enthusiasts can develop their skills. So if you really think you could match-up against a professional, consider trying your hand at one.</p> <p>You almost certainly won’t be able to land an actual passenger plane by the end of it – but at least you’ll gain an appreciation for the immense skill pilots possess.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/218037/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/guido-carim-junior-1379129"><em>Guido Carim Junior</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in Aviation, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chris-campbell-1414564">Chris Campbell</a>, Adjunct Associate Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/elvira-marques-1362476">Elvira Marques</a>, Aviation PhD candidate, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nnenna-ike-1490692">Nnenna Ike</a>, Research Assistant, Griffith Aviation, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tim-ryley-1253269">Tim Ryley</a>, Professor and Head of Griffith Aviation, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: </em><em>Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/almost-half-the-men-surveyed-think-they-could-land-a-passenger-plane-experts-disagree-218037">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Trouble

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Why you shouldn’t worry if the plane cabin fills with fog

<p dir="ltr">A savvy traveller has shared why plane cabins can fill with fog, and why you need not to worry about it. </p> <p dir="ltr">Passenger Savannah Gowarty posted a video of the suspiciously looking inflight mist and condensation on a domestic US flight, with the video garnered over 13.1 million views, and amazing and confusing commentators questioning what was going on.</p> <p dir="ltr">In response to the viral video, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesperson told <em><a href="https://cnn.com/travel">CNN Travel</a></em> what it means. </p> <p dir="ltr">The short answer: it's a natural occurrence that usually only lasts a short while, and it's nothing to worry about.</p> <p dir="ltr">"On hot and relatively humid days, cold air from the aircraft's air conditioning system mixes with the warmer, humid cabin air and lowers it to the dew point, creating fog," the spokesperson said. </p> <p dir="ltr">"The fog is generally short-lived as the cooled air quickly warms above the dew point."</p> <p dir="ltr">When an airplane is waiting on the ground pre-departure, the aircraft cabin air is kept cool "either from an external ground air conditioning unit or the aircraft's own Auxiliary Power Unit (APU)," as the FAA spokesperson explains.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Both provide cold air (usually much cooler than the ambient temperature) which can temporarily lower the dew point of the aircraft cabin air enough to create fog."</p> <p dir="ltr">Climate scientist Indrani Roy emphasised that neither mist nor any resulting condensation is "cause for alarm."</p> <p dir="ltr">The FAA spokesperson went on to explain that "aircraft cabin fog usually dissipates very quickly."</p> <p dir="ltr">"This is due to the colder air (which lowered the cabin air temperature to its dew point) quickly warms back above the dew point. Once that happens, the fog will disappear.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Many times, the fog only appears as it comes out of the vent, exists for 1-2 seconds and then is gone."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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How do airplanes fly? An aerospace engineer explains the physics of flight

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/craig-merrett-1509278">Craig Merrett</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/clarkson-university-4276">Clarkson University</a></em></p> <p>Airplane flight is one of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century. The <a href="https://airandspace.si.edu/explore/stories/wright-brothers">invention of the airplane</a> allows people to travel from one side of the planet to the other in less than a day, compared with weeks of travel by boat and train.</p> <p>Understanding precisely why airplanes fly is an ongoing challenge for <a href="https://www.clarkson.edu/people/craig-merrett">aerospace engineers, like me</a>, who study and design airplanes, rockets, satellites, helicopters and space capsules.</p> <p>Our job is to make sure that flying through the air or in space is safe and reliable, by using tools and ideas from science and mathematics, like computer simulations and experiments.</p> <p>Because of that work, flying in an airplane is <a href="https://usafacts.org/articles/is-flying-safer-than-driving/">the safest way to travel</a> – safer than cars, buses, trains or boats. But although aerospace engineers design aircraft that are stunningly sophisticated, you might be surprised to learn there are still some details about the physics of flight that we don’t fully understand.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/577439/original/file-20240222-28-v3tjb4.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/577439/original/file-20240222-28-v3tjb4.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/577439/original/file-20240222-28-v3tjb4.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=381&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/577439/original/file-20240222-28-v3tjb4.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=381&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/577439/original/file-20240222-28-v3tjb4.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=381&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/577439/original/file-20240222-28-v3tjb4.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=479&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/577439/original/file-20240222-28-v3tjb4.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=479&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/577439/original/file-20240222-28-v3tjb4.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=479&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A diagram of an airplane that shows the four forces of flight." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The forces of weight, thrust, drag and lift act on a plane to keep it aloft and moving.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www1.grc.nasa.gov/beginners-guide-to-aeronautics/airplane-cruise-balanced-forces/">NASA</a></span></figcaption></figure> <h2>May the force(s) be with you</h2> <p>There are <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/stem-content/four-forces-of-flight/#:%7E">four forces</a> that aerospace engineers consider when designing an airplane: weight, thrust, drag and lift. Engineers use these forces to help design the shape of the airplane, the size of the wings, and figure out how many passengers the airplane can carry.</p> <p>For example, when an airplane takes off, the thrust must be greater than the drag, and the lift must be greater than the weight. If you watch an airplane take off, you’ll see the wings change shape using flaps from the back of the wings. The flaps help make more lift, but they also make more drag, so a powerful engine is necessary to create more thrust.</p> <p>When the airplane is high enough and is cruising to your destination, lift needs to balance the weight, and the thrust needs to balance the drag. So the pilot pulls the flaps in and can set the engine to produce less power.</p> <p>That said, let’s define what force means. According to <a href="https://ca.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/4079abf0-7a4b-4f49-80ad-c69cd06a80f9/newtons-second-law-of-motion/">Newton’s Second Law</a>, a force is a mass multiplied by an acceleration, or F = ma.</p> <p>A force that everyone encounters every day is <a href="https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/what-is-gravity/en/#:%7E">the force of gravity</a>, which keeps us on the ground. When you get weighed at the doctor’s office, they’re actually measuring the amount of force that your body applies to the scale. When your weight is given in pounds, that is a measure of force.</p> <p>While an airplane is flying, gravity is pulling the airplane down. That force is the weight of the airplane.</p> <p>But its engines push the airplane forward because they create <a href="https://www1.grc.nasa.gov/beginners-guide-to-aeronautics/what-is-thrust/">a force called thrust</a>. The engines pull in air, which has mass, and quickly push that air out of the back of the engine – so there’s a mass multiplied by an acceleration.</p> <p>According to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-wh3fJRdjo">Newton’s Third Law</a>, for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. When the air rushes out the back of the engines, there is a reaction force that pushes the airplane forward – that’s called thrust.</p> <p>As the airplane flies through the air, the shape of the airplane pushes air out of the way. Again, by Newton’s Third Law, this air pushes back, <a href="https://www1.grc.nasa.gov/beginners-guide-to-aeronautics/what-is-drag/#:%7E">which leads to drag</a>.</p> <p>You can experience something similar to drag when swimming. Paddle through a pool, and your arms and feet provide thrust. Stop paddling, and you will keep moving forward because you have mass, but you will slow down. The reason that you slow down is that the water is pushing back on you – that’s drag.</p> <h2>Understanding lift</h2> <p><a href="https://www1.grc.nasa.gov/beginners-guide-to-aeronautics/what-is-lift/">Lift</a> is more complicated than the other forces of weight, thrust and drag. It’s created by the wings of an airplane, and the shape of the wing is critical; that shape is <a href="https://howthingsfly.si.edu/media/airfoil#:%7E">known as an airfoil</a>. Basically it means the top and bottom of the wing are curved, although the shapes of the curves can be different from each other.</p> <p>As air flows around the airfoil, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UO75jDwGCdQ">it creates pressure</a> – a force spread out over a large area. Lower pressure is created on the top of the airfoil compared to the pressure on the bottom. Or to look at it another way, air travels faster over the top of the airfoil than beneath.</p> <p>Understanding why the pressure and speeds are different on the top and the bottom is <a href="https://airandspace.si.edu/multimedia-gallery/lift-and-copjpg">critical to understand lift</a>. By improving our understanding of lift, engineers can design more fuel-efficient airplanes and give passengers more comfortable flights.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/579698/original/file-20240304-24-6df49v.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/579698/original/file-20240304-24-6df49v.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/579698/original/file-20240304-24-6df49v.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=385&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579698/original/file-20240304-24-6df49v.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=385&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579698/original/file-20240304-24-6df49v.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=385&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579698/original/file-20240304-24-6df49v.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=484&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579698/original/file-20240304-24-6df49v.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=484&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579698/original/file-20240304-24-6df49v.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=484&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A diagram that shows how the airfoil of a plane works." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Note the airfoil, which is a specific wing shape that helps keep a plane in the air.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/illustration/how-airplanes-fly-royalty-free-illustration/1401215523?phrase=airfoil+diagram&amp;adppopup=true">Dimitrios Karamitros/iStock via Getty Images Plus</a></span></figcaption></figure> <h2>The conundrum</h2> <p>The reason why air moves at different speeds around an airfoil remains mysterious, and <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/video/no-one-can-explain-why-planes-stay-in-the-air/">scientists are still investigating</a> this question.</p> <p>Aerospace engineers have measured these pressures on a wing in both wind tunnel experiments and during flight. We can create models of different wings to predict if they will fly well. We can also change lift by changing a wing’s shape to create airplanes that fly for long distances or fly very fast.</p> <p>Even though we still don’t fully know why lift happens, aerospace engineers work with mathematical equations that recreate the different speeds on the top and bottom of the airfoil. Those equations describe a process <a href="https://howthingsfly.si.edu/media/circulation-theory-lift">known as circulation</a>.</p> <p>Circulation provides aerospace engineers with a way to model what happens around a wing even if we do not completely understand why it happens. In other words, through the use of math and science, we are able to build airplanes that are safe and efficient, even if we don’t completely understand the process behind why it works.</p> <p>Ultimately, if aerospace engineers can figure out why the air flows at different speeds depending on which side of the wing it’s on, we can design airplanes that use less fuel and pollute less.</p> <p><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/craig-merrett-1509278"><em>Craig Merrett</em></a><em>, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/clarkson-university-4276">Clarkson University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-do-airplanes-fly-an-aerospace-engineer-explains-the-physics-of-flight-222847">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Here’s what happens to your body during plane turbulence – and how to reduce the discomfort it causes

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-taylor-283950">Adam Taylor</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lancaster-university-1176">Lancaster University</a></em></p> <p>This week has seen another barrage of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/jan/22/uk-weather-storm-jocelyn-to-follow-isha-with-more-strong-winds-and-heavy-rain">unsettled weather</a> sweep across the UK, with many flights delayed or cancelled. Some of those who were fortunate enough to take off found themselves arriving at destinations that weren’t on their boarding passes – such as passengers travelling from Stansted to Newquay who eventually diverted to <a href="https://uk.news.yahoo.com/storm-isha-creates-flight-diversion-142821278.html">Malaga</a>.</p> <p>One thing that was consistently described by passengers was that parts of the flights and the attempted landings were some of the most unnerving they’d ever experienced, due to turbulence.</p> <p>Turbulence results from uneven air movement, which is <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2023GL103814">increasing</a> in frequency. If you turn your hair dryer on at home and hold it still, the air moves at a constant rate, but once you begin drying your hair and moving the hairdryer around, the air movement becomes uneven, that is to say, turbulent.</p> <p>Although turbulence may be unnerving and make you feel unwell, it is important to recognise that it is very common and typically <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18018437/">nothing to worry about</a> if you’re in your seat with your seatbelt fastened.</p> <h2>How the body detects and responds to turbulence</h2> <p>The body recognises itself within any environment. Its relationship with objects in terms of distance and direction is called <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/B9780123750006003414">spatial orientation</a>.</p> <p>When flying, this is typically moving forwards, ascending, some turns and a descent. However, turbulence disrupts this relationship and confuses the sensory information being received by the brain – it makes the body want to respond or recalibrate.</p> <p>Our inner ears play a pivotal role in all this. It consists of complex apparatuses that undertake more than hearing. These include the cochlea, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279394/">three semi-circular canals</a>, <a href="https://radiopaedia.org/articles/utricle-ear?lang=gb">the utricle</a> and <a href="https://radiopaedia.org/articles/saccule-ear-1?lang=gb">the saccule</a>.</p> <p>The cochlea is responsible for hearing. It converts <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531483/">sound energy into electrical energy</a> that is then “heard” by the brain. The remaining structures are responsible for the balance and position of the head and body. The semi-circular canals are positioned in a vertical (side to side), horizontal and front-to-back plane, detecting movement in a nodding, shaking and touching ear-to-shoulder direction.</p> <p>Attached to these canals are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532978/">the utricle and saccule</a>, which can detect <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10792/">movement</a> and <a href="https://www.cell.com/current-biology/pdf/S0960-9822(05)00837-7.pdf">acceleration</a>.</p> <p>All of these apparatuses use microscopic hair cells in a specialised fluid called <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531505/">endolymph</a> that flows with the head to create a sense of movement. When the plane encounters turbulence, this fluid moves around, but unpredictably. It takes <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK518976/">about ten to 20 seconds</a> for the fluid to recalibrate its position, while the brain struggles to understand what is going on.</p> <p>When the aircraft hits turbulence, the balance apparatus <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fneur.2023.949227/full">cannot distinguish</a> the movement of the plane from that of the head, so the brain interprets the aircraft movement as that of the head or body. But this doesn’t match the visual information being received, which causes sensory confusion.</p> <p>The reason the inner ear causes so much confusion is because during flights you are devoid of your primary sensory tool relative to the external environment – your sight and the horizon.</p> <p>Eighty per cent of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK518976/">spatial information</a> comes from your eyes during flight. However, you only have the seat in front of you or the cabin as a reference point, which means your inner ear becomes the dominant sensory message to the brain during turbulence and disrupts the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK545297/">“vestibulo-ocular reflex”</a>. This reflex keeps your vision <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4130651/">aligned</a> with your balance or expected position.</p> <p>Vision is the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6777262/">most valued</a> of the senses and one-third of the brain is attributed to its function, reinforcing its importance in spatial orientation.</p> <p>This sensory mixed messaging often results in things like dizziness and sweating as well as gastrointestinal symptoms, such as <a href="https://www.airmedicaljournal.com/article/S1067-991X(02)70038-2/fulltext">nausea and vomiting</a>.</p> <p>Motion sickness can be triggered by turbulence and although research into specific airsickness is limited, other modes that induce motion sickness suggest that <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16018346/">women</a> are <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26466829/">more susceptible</a> than men, particularly in the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16235881/">early stages</a> of the menstrual cycle.</p> <p>The turbulence also causes an increase in your heart rate, which is already higher than normal when flying because of a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15819766/">decrease in oxygen saturation</a>.</p> <h2>What about the pilots?</h2> <p>Commercial pilots accrue thousands of hours at the controls, they are subject to the same forces as the passengers.</p> <p>Over time, they can <a href="https://academic.oup.com/milmed/article/180/11/1135/4160573">adapt to these forces</a> and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15828634/">experiences</a>, but they also have a couple of additional resources that most passengers don’t.</p> <p>They have the view out of the cockpit windows, so have a horizon to use as a reference point and can see what lies immediately ahead.</p> <p>If it is cloudy or visibility is low, their instruments provide additional visual <a href="https://www.faa.gov/sites/faa.gov/files/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/phak/19_phak_ch17.pdf">reference</a> to the position of the aircraft. This doesn’t mean they are immune to the effects of turbulence, with some studies reporting up to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26540704/">71% of trainee pilots</a> reporting episodes of airsickness.</p> <h2>How to reduce the discomfort</h2> <p>A window seat can help, or even looking out the window. This gives the brain some sensory information through visual pathways, helping calm the brain in response to the vestibular information it is receiving.</p> <p>If you can get one, a seat towards the front or over the wing reduces the effects of turbulence.</p> <p>Deep or rhythmical breathing can help reduce motion sickness induced by turbulence. Focusing on your breathing <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25945662/">calms the nervous system</a>.</p> <p>Don’t reach for the alcohol. While you may feel it calms your nerves, if you hit turbulence it’s going to interfere with your <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7610847/">visual and auditory processing</a> and increase the likelihood of vomiting.</p> <p>If you suffer from motion sickness and are worried about turbulence while flying, then there are also <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6241144/">drugs that can help</a>, including certain <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/cinnarizine/about-cinnarizine/">antihistamines</a>.</p> <p>Finally, it’s important to remember that although turbulence can be unpleasant, aircraft are designed to withstand the forces it generates and many passengers, even frequent fliers, will rarely encounter the most severe categories of turbulence because pilots actively plan routes to avoid it.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/221780/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-taylor-283950">Adam Taylor</a>, Professor and Director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lancaster-university-1176">Lancaster University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/heres-what-happens-to-your-body-during-plane-turbulence-and-how-to-reduce-the-discomfort-it-causes-221780">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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"Not one ounce of compassion”: BBC star kicked off plane over daughter's allergy

<p>A BBC weather presenter and her family have been kicked off a plane after asking passengers to be wary of her daughter's peanut allergy. </p> <p>British weather presenter Georgie Palmer was flying from London to Turkey with her husband Matt and their daughters Annie and Rosie, as the family boarded their flight at Gatwick Airport with SunExpress airlines. </p> <p>Georgie and her family were kicked off the plane shortly after boarding, after the 49-year-old mother ran into issues around her daughter's severe allergy to peanuts.</p> <p>According to Palmer, she has requested that the captain make an announcement to all passengers asking them not to eat any peanut products on the flight, but the pilot refused. </p> <p>Palmer then took matters into her own hands and one by one asked passengers not to consume peanuts on the four-hour flight, before being asked to disembark the aircraft.</p> <p>The weather presenter took to Instagram to share her side of the story with a lengthy post. </p> <p>She began, “I thanked the beautiful souls on our plane for helping us. Many of them hugged, cheered and held our hands as we were forced to disembark."</p> <p>“The SunExpress captain and cabin crew refused to make the standard announcement on behalf of our daughter. We gently asked the passengers at the front of the plane to share our request."</p> <p>“Row by row, all the passengers turned back to kindly ask the row behind to please not eat nuts on the flight. It was calm, earnest and with an overwhelming sense of solidarity and empathy.”</p> <p>Georgie added: “There’s no beef with simple asks like these. People get it!"</p> <p>“We were hoofed off the plane after the angry little captain shouted at us from the cockpit.”</p> <p>She concluded by saying they were discriminated against for “simply having an allergy”.</p> <p>Georgie told the <a title="www.dailymail.co.uk" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13457399/bbc-weather-presenter-Georgie-Palmer-flight-nuts.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail</em>,</a> “The captain decided because of my daughter’s allergy he didn’t want to fly with her on board."</p> <p>“When he found out I had spoken to the other passengers he was screaming at me from the cockpit. He was so angry, the next thing I knew we were told to get off the plane."</p> <p>“How we were treated was disgusting – nobody working on that plane showed one ounce of compassion.”</p> <p>A SunExpress spokesman then shared the airline's version of events, claiming that Georgie's husband had become aggressive, and kicked the family off the plane with their best interests at heart. </p> <p>The statement said, “We take the safety of our passengers very seriously. Shortly after boarding our flight, the passenger raised a concern about one of his family group having a serious peanut allergy."</p> <p>“They requested an announcement to other passengers. We refrain from making these kinds of announcements. Like many other airlines, we cannot guarantee an allergen-free environment on our flights, nor can we prevent other passengers from bringing food items containing allergens on board."</p> <p>“Due to the insistent behaviour of the passenger to others on board, the captain decided it would be safest if the family did not travel."</p> <p>“When this was explained to the passenger, he behaved aggressively towards our crew members and tried to gain access to the cockpit. To ensure the safety of our crew and our passengers on board, we cannot tolerate aggressive and unruly behaviour on our flights."</p> <p>“Our website states that passengers must notify us 48 hours in advance of any special care required due to a medical condition. No such notification was received from the passengers in this instance.”</p> <p>According to <em><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/tv/28140666/bbc-family-flight-passengers-peanuts-allergy/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Sun</a></em>, Mr Sollom denies acting aggressively.</p> <p>The differing versions of events have divided many on social media as thousands weighed in on the debacle, with plenty of users siding with the pilot.</p> <p>“The pilot is a national treasure,” one person wrote.</p> <p>“As they should have been,” a second wrote, referring to the family getting kicked off.</p> <p>“Would have booted them off as well,” another agreed. </p> <p>A fourth wrote: “I think this story would be found under Self Entitlement in the dictionary.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

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How risky is turbulence on a plane? How worried should I be?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hassan-vally-202904">Hassan Vally</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p>The Singapore Airlines <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-05-21/singapore-london-flight-makes-emergency-landing/103876370">turbulence incident</a> that has sadly left one person dead and others hospitalised has made many of us think about the risks of air travel.</p> <p>We’ll hear more in coming days about how the aircraft came to drop so suddenly on its route from London to Singapore earlier this week, injuring passengers and crew, before making an emergency landing in Thailand.</p> <p>But thankfully, these types of incidents <a href="https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/2014/in-flight-turbulence">are rare</a>, and much <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/transport-accidents">less-common</a> than injuries from other types of transport.</p> <p>So why do we sometimes think the risk of getting injured while travelling by plane is higher than it really is?</p> <h2>How common are turbulence injuries?</h2> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-air-turbulence-196872">Turbulence</a> <a href="https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/2014/in-flight-turbulence">is caused by</a> the irregular movement of air, leading to passengers and crew experiencing abrupt sideways and vertical jolts.</p> <p>In the case of the Singapore Airlines flight, this type of turbulence is thought to be a severe example of “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/article/2024/may/21/what-causes-air-turbulence-and-how-worried-should-passengers-be">clear-air turbulence</a>”, which can occur without warning. There are several other types.</p> <p>About 25 in-flight turbulence injuries <a href="https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/2014/in-flight-turbulence">are reported</a> to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau each year, although it is thought many more are un-reported. Some of these reported injuries are serious, including broken bones and head injuries. Passengers being thrown up and out of their seat during turbulence is one of the most common type of head injury on a plane.</p> <p>Other injuries from turbulence are caused by contact with flying laptops, or other unsecured items.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.atsb.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-04/AR-2008-034%20Turbulence%20FactSheet_v2.pdf">one example</a> of clear-air turbulence that came without warning, cabin crew, passengers and meal trolleys hit the ceiling, and landed heavily back on the floor. Serious injuries included bone fractures, lacerations, neck and back strains, a dislocated shoulder and shattered teeth. Almost all of those seriously injured did not have their seat belts fastened.</p> <p>But we need to put this into perspective. In the year to January 2024, there were <a href="https://www.bitre.gov.au/statistics/aviation/international">more than 36 million</a> passengers on international flights to Australia. In the year to February 2024, there were <a href="https://www.bitre.gov.au/statistics/aviation/domestic">more than 58 million</a> passengers on domestic flights.</p> <p>So while such incidents grab the headlines, they are exceedingly rare.</p> <h2>Why do we think flying is riskier than it is?</h2> <p>When we hear about this recent Singapore Airlines incident, it’s entirely natural to have a strong emotional reaction. We might have imagined the terror we might feel if we were on the aircraft at the time.</p> <p>But our emotional response <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2001-16969-005">alters our perception</a> of the risk and leads us to think these rare incidents are more common than they really are.</p> <p>There is a vast body of literature addressing the <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-how-our-understanding-of-risk-is-changing-79501">numerous factors</a> that influence how individuals perceive risk and the cognitive biases we are all subject to that mislead us.</p> <p>Nobel Prize-winning economist <a href="https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/economic-sciences/2002/kahneman/facts/">Daniel Kahneman</a> covers them in his bestselling book <a href="https://www.penguin.com.au/books/thinking-fast-and-slow-9780141033570">Thinking, Fast and Slow</a>.</p> <p>He describes the way we respond to risks is not rational, but driven by emotion. Kahneman also highlights the fact that our brains are not wired to make sense of extremely small risks. So these types of risks – such as the chance of serious injury or death from in-flight turbulence – are hard for us to make sense of.</p> <p>The more unusual an event is, and this was a very unusual event, Kahneman says the more impact it makes on our psyche and the more likely we are to overestimate the risk.</p> <p>Of course, the more unusual the event, the <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1999-02435-000">more likely</a> it is for it to be in the media, amplifying this effect.</p> <p>Similarly, the easier it is to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0010028573900339">imagine an event</a>, the more it affects our perception and the more likely we are to respond to an event as if it were much more likely to occur.</p> <h2>How can we make sense of the risk?</h2> <p>One way to make sense of activities with small, hard-to-understand risks is by comparing their risks to the risks of more familiar activities.</p> <p>If we do this, the data shows very clearly that it is much <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/transport-accidents">more risky</a> to drive a car or ride a motorbike than to travel by plane.</p> <p>While events such as the Singapore Airlines incident are devastating and stir up lots of emotions, it’s important to recognise how our emotions can mislead us to over-estimate the risk of this happening again, or to us.</p> <p>Apart from the stress and anxiety this provokes, overestimating the risks of particular activities may lead us to make bad decisions that actually put us at greater risk of harm.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/230665/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hassan-vally-202904">Hassan Vally</a>, Associate Professor, Epidemiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-risky-is-turbulence-on-a-plane-how-worried-should-i-be-230665">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Trouble

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"Not going to save anybody": Exit row passenger prompts plane evacuation

<p>A whole plane has been forced to disembark after a woman seated in the exit row refused to comply with safety instructions. </p> <p>Passengers were up in arms when they had to leave the plane, after the woman was overheard telling cabin crew that she would only save herself in the event of an emergency, before yelling at flight attendants. </p> <p>The interaction, which was captured by another passenger on video and posted to TikTok, shows the woman becoming heated while talking to cabin crew on the Frontier flight. </p> <p>The passenger can then be seen and heard progressively raising her voice to cabin crew, with fellow flyers pleading with the woman to disembark the plane.</p> <p>The traveller who filmed the altercation claims the woman said she was “not going to save anybody” when seated in the exit row, saying the disgruntled passenger had “attitude” and went on to say that if something were to happen, she would “only save” herself. </p> <p>“That was her attitude throughout the seating process. And I already knew something was about to pop off when she had that attitude,” the TikTok user said.</p> <p>The altercation only became more heated as the yelling progressed, before police eventually arrived on the plane to escort the woman off. </p> <p>The video then shows another Frontier employee approach the passenger and say, “I’m gonna ask you one more time, nicely, to get off, if not, we’re going to deboard the plane and police will come and escort you off.”</p> <p>When the cabin crew make repeated futile attempts to get through the woman, the pilot came down from the cockpit to try and call for calm. </p> <p>“You’re inconveniencing everybody else,” the pilot can be heard saying to the woman. as the pair continue to exchange words while he repeatedly points toward the front of the plane.</p> <p>Following the failed attempts, two police officers then make their way down the aisle and towards the passenger. </p> <p>Towards the end of the five-minute video, which has been viewed more than 80,000 times, all the passengers on board the flight were filmed disembarking the aircraft while the passenger at the centre of the ordeal exits with police from a separate door onto the tarmac.</p> <p>It is unclear if charges were laid.</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

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Victim identified after plane hits deadly turbulence

<p>One man has died and dozens have been left injured after a Singapore Airlines plane encountered deadly turbulence, and was forced to make an emergency landing. </p> <p>The flight was travelling from London to Singapore - a route frequently used to continue on to Australia and New Zealand -  when the plane hit an air pocket while flying over Thailand. </p> <p>The unexpected and extreme turbulence caused the plane to drop over 6,000 feet in a matter of minutes, sending passengers and cabin crew flying around the aircraft. </p> <p>While dozens of people sustained injuries during the terrifying ordeal, authorities said that one elderly man had suffered a heart attack when the turbulence hit and had died onboard. </p> <p>British media named the man as Geoffrey Kitchen, a grandfather and amateur dramatics performer who was on his way to Australia with his wife for a six-week holiday.</p> <p>The 211 passengers - including 56 Australians - and 18 crew on board were diverted to make an emergency landing in Bangkok after the turbulence hit, just a few hours away from their destination. </p> <p>Kittipong Kittikachorn, general manager of Thailand's Suvarnabhumi Airport, confirmed in a press conference that seven passengers were severely injured, and 23 passengers and nine crew members had moderate injuries.</p> <p>Sixteen with less serious injuries received hospital treatment and 14 were treated at the airport.</p> <p>One passenger, Jerry, recalled hitting his head on the overhead lockers when the turbulence hit. </p> <p>"My wife did (hit her head too), some poor people were walking around, ended up doing somersaults," he said, adding that his daughter was also injured and would likely stay in hospital for "a few days".</p> <p>"It was absolutely terrible. And then suddenly it stopped, and it was calm again, and the staff did their best to tend to the injured people." </p> <p>"There were a lot of them, and some of the staff were injured themselves."</p> <p>Another passenger recalled the moment the aircraft had begun “tilting up and there was shaking”. </p> <p>“So I started bracing for what was happening, and very suddenly there was a very dramatic drop,” 28-year-old Dzafran Azmir said.</p> <p>“Everyone seated and not wearing seatbelt was launched immediately into the ceiling."</p> <p>“Some people hit their heads on the baggage cabins overhead and dented it, they hit the places where lights and masks are and broke straight through it.”</p> <p>Singapore Airlines said the nationalities of the passengers were 56 Australians, two Canadians, one German, three Indians, two Indonesians, one from Iceland, four from Ireland, one Israeli, 16 Malaysians, two from Myanmar, 23 from New Zealand, five Filipinos, 41 from Singapore, one South Korean, two Spaniards, 47 from the UK and four from the US.</p> <p>In the hours after the traumatic event, Aviation consultant and pilot Tim Atkinson shared his theory on what caused the “very significant” incident.</p> <p>Atkinson told the BBC that in the increase in air turbulence can be linked to climate change, saying “it’s fairly clear” the Singapore Airlines flight “encountered atmospheric turbulence”.</p> <p>He also noted that the area — called the Intertropical Convergence Zone — is “renowned among pilots, and I dare say passengers, for turbulence”.</p> <p>“Despite abundant caution occasionally, there’s turbulence ahead which can’t be identified, and the unfortunate result of an encounter is injury and, very rarely, fatality,” he said.</p> <p>Mr Atkinson also noted that the larger the aircraft, “the worse the atmospheric perturbation, the disruption in the smoothness of the atmosphere, needs to be to cause major problems”. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook / Twitter</em></p>

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Do red bags get loaded onto a plane first? Travel hack goes viral

<p>One TikTok user has racked up over 75 million views for their hack which warns travellers against buying red suitcases.</p> <p>The reason behind it? He claims that red suitcases are always loaded onto a plane first - meaning that they will be the last ones to come out at the baggage carousel. </p> <p>The <a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@airportlife_/video/7359248989134327072" target="_blank" rel="noopener">viral video</a> showed a plane's cargo being loaded, with all the red bags being loaded first. </p> <p>Many commenters have shared their theories on why this might be the case. </p> <p>"If the red are at the back then they are less likely to get left behind when unloading," one wrote. </p> <p>"So that it's easier to check if there is any bag left at end corner of loading area and prevent missing out black bags at dark corners, maybe," another added. </p> <p>However, a spokesperson for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has debunked this theory and claimed that the video is "nonsense" and "was made purposefully to mislead or provide false information".</p> <p>They also said that there was simply not enough time for their baggage handlers to sort suitcases out by colour. </p> <p>The question of "Do red bags get loaded onto a plane first?" also made its way to Reddit, after the video went viral, and one user who claimed to be a ramp worker denied the theory. </p> <p>"If we had taken the time and brain power to load bags based on colour I'd still be loading flights from 2015." </p> <p><em>Image: TikTok</em></p>

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Flight attendant reveals how to score a free upgrade

<p dir="ltr">A flight attendant has shared her number one trick for securing an upgrade on your next plane journey. </p> <p dir="ltr">American flight attendant Cierra Mistt revealed the one question you should ask at check-in to score an upgrade to first class, with the hack working almost every time.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mistt started her now-viral video by saying her hack to get a free upgrade was top secret. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Let’s look at the big picture. Everyone is flying right now, and no one is more excited about that than commercial airlines,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The majority of airlines are overbooking every single flight they have.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“It comes from the last month of me trying to get home and not even being able to get on standby because every single flight has been oversold,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I am not talking about one or two seats. I am talking about 10-30 seats that have been oversold.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mistt said this overselling of flights presents an opportunity to travellers.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If everyone does show up, including the extra passengers that were oversold their tickets, the airlines have no choice but to financially compensate,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">The flight attendant shared that airlines “normally start off with vouchers for $500 or something”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Normally they say a voucher but you can ask for it in cash,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Depending on the flight and how desperate they are, they will go up to, like three, four, five thousand dollars.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is where the free upgrades come in.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mistt said not only could you ask for a free upgrade in such circumstances, but you could “also ask for other incentives”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“For example, drinks, dinners, breakfast, even a hotel if you have to stay overnight until the next flight,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And, yes, you can also ask to be upgraded to first class.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Her video received more than a million views, with people praising the hack and sharing how it has worked for them. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I got upgraded to first class by doing this,” said one person. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: TikTok / Getty Images </em></p> <p> </p>

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Should you be concerned about flying on Boeing planes?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/doug-drury-1277871">Doug Drury</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p>The American aerospace giant Boeing has been synonymous with safe air travel for decades. Since the 1990s, Boeing and its European competitor Airbus have dominated the market for large passenger jets.</p> <p>But this year, Boeing has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. In January, an emergency door plug <a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/alaska-airlines-let-boeing-max-fly-despite-warning-signals">blew off a Boeing 737 MAX</a> in mid flight, triggering an investigation from United States federal regulators.</p> <p>More recently, we have seen a Boeing plane lose a tyre while taking off, another flight turned back as the plane was leaking fluid, an apparent engine fire, a landing gear collapse, a stuck rudder pedal, and a plane “dropping” in flight and <a href="https://theconversation.com/latam-flight-800-just-dropped-in-mid-flight-injuring-dozens-an-expert-explores-what-happened-and-how-to-keep-yourself-safe-225554">injuring dozens of passengers</a>. A Boeing engineer who had raised concerns regarding quality control during the manufacturing process on the company’s 787 and 737 MAX planes also <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/business-68534703">died earlier this week</a>, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.</p> <p>As members of the travelling public, should we be concerned? Well, yes and no.</p> <h2>Many problems, but not all can be blamed on Boeing</h2> <p>The recent parade of events has certainly been dramatic – but not all of them can be blamed on Boeing. Five incidents occurred on aircraft owned and operated by United Airlines and were related to factors outside the manufacturer’s control, like maintenance issues, potential foreign object debris, and possible human error.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/united-airlines-plane-tire-blowout-boeing-b2509241.html">United Airlines 777</a> flying from San Francisco to Japan lost a tyre on takeoff, a maintenance issue not related to Boeing. The aircraft landed safely in Los Angeles.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.mercurynews.com/2024/03/12/united-airlines-reports-fifth-flight-incident-in-a-week-as-jet-turns-back-due-to-maintenance-issue/">United Airlines flight from Sydney</a> to Los Angeles had to return to Sydney due to a “maintenance issue” after a fluid was seen leaking from the aircraft on departure.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/passenger-video-shows-flames-shoot-united-airlines-engine-midflight-rcna142217">United Airlines 737-900</a> flying from Texas to Florida ended up with some plastic bubble wrap in the engine, causing a suspected <a href="https://skybrary.aero/articles/compressor-stall#:%7E:text=Compressor%20stalls%20cause%20the%20air,dirty%20or%20contaminated%20compressor%20components">compressor stall</a>. This is a disruption of air flow to an operating engine, making it “backfire” and emit flames.</p> <p>A <a href="https://simpleflying.com/united-boeing-737-max-houston-runway-incident/">United Airlines 737 Max</a> flying from Tennessee to Texas suffered a gear collapse after a normal landing. The pilot continued to the end of the runway before exiting onto a taxiway – possibly at too high a speed – and the aircraft ended up in the grass and the left main landing gear collapsed.</p> <p>The fifth event occurred on a <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/another-boeing-max-mishap-ntsb-probes-stuck-rudder-pedals-united-airli-rcna142286">United Airlines 737-8</a> flight from the Bahamas to New Jersey. The pilots reported that the rudder pedals, which control the left and right movement of the aircraft in flight, were stuck in the neutral position during landing.</p> <h2>Manufacturing quality concerns</h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/alaska-airlines-let-boeing-max-fly-despite-warning-signals">exit door plug failure in January</a> occurred on an Alaska Airlines flight. US regulators are currently investigating Boeing’s <a href="https://www.vox.com/money/24052245/boeing-corporate-culture-737-airplane-safety-door-plug">manufacturing quality assurance</a> as a result.</p> <p>The door plug was installed by a Boeing subcontractor called Spirit AeroSystem. The door plug bolts were not properly secured and the plug door fell off in flight. The same aircraft had a series of pressurisation alarms on two previous flights, and was scheduled for a maintenance inspection at the completion of the flight.</p> <p>Spirit got its start after Boeing shut down its own manufacturing operations in Kansas and Oklahoma, and Boeing is now in the process of <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2024/03/01/spirit-aerosystems-boeing.html">buying the company</a> to improve quality oversight. Spirit currently works with Airbus, as well, though that may change.</p> <h2>What changed at Boeing</h2> <p>Critics say the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2024/03/12/boeing-whistleblower-death-plane-issues/">culture at Boeing has changed</a> since Airbus became a major competitor in the early 2000s. The company has been accused of shifting its focus to profit at the expense of quality engineering.</p> <p>Former staff have raised concerns over tight production schedules, which increased the pressure on employees to finish the aircraft. This caused many engineers to question the process, and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fine Boeing for lapses in quality oversight after tools and debris were found on aircraft being inspected.</p> <p>Several employees have testified before US Congress on the production issues regarding quality control. Based on the congressional findings, the FAA began to inspect Boeing’s processes more closely.</p> <p>Several Boeing employees noted there was a high staff turnover rate during the COVID pandemic. This is not unique to Boeing, as all manufacturing processes and airline maintenance facilities around the globe were also hit with high turnover.</p> <p>As a result, there is an acute shortage of qualified maintenance engineers, as well as pilots. These shortages have created several issues with the airline industry successfully returning to the <a href="https://www.aviationbusinessnews.com/mro/critical-shortage-of-engineers-means-looming-crisis-for-aviation-warns-aeroprofessional/">pre-pandemic levels</a> of 2019. Airlines and maintenance training centres around the globe are working hard to train replacements, but this takes time as one cannot become a qualified engineer or airline pilot overnight.</p> <p>So, is it still safe to fly on Boeing planes? Yes it is. Despite dramatic incidents in the news and social media posts <a href="https://twitter.com/DaveMcNamee3000/status/1767636549288824990">poking fun at the company</a>, air travel is still extremely safe, and that includes Boeing.</p> <p>We can expect these issues with Boeing planes now will be corrected. The financial impact has been significant – so even a profit-driven company will demand change.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225675/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/doug-drury-1277871">Doug Drury</a>, Professor/Head of Aviation, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/should-you-be-concerned-about-flying-on-boeing-planes-225675">original article</a>.</em></p>

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“I lost all ability to fly the plane”: Pilot's shock claim after plane drops mid-flight

<p>At least 50 passengers have been injured with a dozen hospitalised after a Boeing 787 Dreamliner suddenly plunged about two hours into the flight from Sydney to Auckland on Monday. </p> <p>LATAM Airlines said that the plane experienced an unspecified "technical event during the flight which caused a strong movement." </p> <p>Passengers on board the flight have recalled the terrifying moment the plane took a nose-dive mid-flight. </p> <p>"The plane dipped so dramatically into a nose dive for a couple of seconds and around 30 people hit the ceiling hard," Daniel, who was travelling from London, told the <em>NZ Herald</em>. </p> <p>“None of us knew what had happened until after the flight, I was just trying to keep everyone calm. We never heard any announcement from the captain." </p> <p>He added that passengers were screaming and it was hard to tell whether blood or red wine was splattered through the cabin. </p> <p>Another passenger, Brian Jokat, told broadcaster <em>RNZ t</em>hat the incident took place in "split seconds". </p> <p>"There was no pre-turbulence, we were just sailing smoothly the whole way,” he said. </p> <p>“I had just dozed off and I luckily had my seatbelt on, and all of a sudden the plane just dropped. It wasn’t one of those things where you hit turbulence and you drop a few times … we just dropped.”</p> <p>He added that a passenger two seats away from him, who was not wearing his seatbelt, flew up into the ceiling and was suspended mid-air before he fell and broke his ribs. </p> <p>“I thought I was dreaming,” he said. “I opened my eyes and he was on the roof of the plane on his back, looking down on me. It was like <em>The Exorcist</em>.”</p> <p>Paramedics and more than 10 emergency vehicles were waiting for passengers when the plane landed in Auckland. </p> <p>Around 50 patients were treated, with 12 of them hospitalised and one in serious condition. </p> <p>At least three of those treated were cabin crew. </p> <p>Jokat told <em>RNZ </em>that after the plane landed, the pilot came to the back and explained what had happened. </p> <p>"He said to me, ‘I lost my instrumentation briefly and then it just came back all of a sudden,’” Jokat said.</p> <p>In another interview with <em>Stuff.co.nz</em>, Jokat recalled the pilot also saying: “My gauges just blanked out, I lost all of my ability to fly the plane.” </p> <p>The airline's final destination was Santiago, Chile, but it was landing at Auckland Airport in accordance with its normal flight path, according to <em>Reuters</em>. </p> <p>"LATAM regrets the inconvenience and injury this situation may have caused its passengers, and reiterates its commitment to safety as a priority within the framework of its operational standards," the airline said.  </p> <p><em>Images: Brian Jokat/ News.com.au</em></p>

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Longing for the ‘golden age’ of air travel? Be careful what you wish for

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/janet-bednarek-144872">Janet Bednarek</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-dayton-1726">University of Dayton</a></em></p> <p>Long lines at security checkpoints, tiny plastic cups of soda, small bags of pretzels, planes filled to capacity, fees attached to every amenity – all reflect the realities of 21st century commercial air travel. It’s no wonder that many travelers have become nostalgic for the so-called “golden age” of air travel in the United States.</p> <p>During the 1950s, airlines promoted commercial air travel as glamorous: stewardesses served full meals on real china, airline seats were large (and frequently empty) with ample leg-room, and passengers always dressed well.</p> <p>After jets were introduced in the late 1950s, passengers could travel to even the most distant locations at speeds unimaginable a mere decade before. An airline trip from New York to London that could take up to 15 hours in the early 1950s could be made in less than seven hours by the early 1960s.</p> <p>But airline nostalgia can be tricky, and “golden ages” are seldom as idyllic as they seem.</p> <p>Until the introduction of jets in 1958, most of the nation’s commercial planes were propeller-driven aircraft, like the DC-4. Most of these planes were unpressurized, and with a maximum cruising altitude of 10,000 to 12,000 feet, they were unable to fly over bad weather. Delays were frequent, turbulence common, and air sickness bags often needed.</p> <p>Some planes were spacious and pressurized: the <a href="http://everythingnice.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/PanAm-cutawayS.jpg">Boeing Stratocruiser</a>, for example, could seat 50 first class passengers or 81 coach passengers compared to the DC-3’s 21 passengers. It could cruise at 32,000 feet, which allowed Stratocruiser to fly above most bad weather it encountered. But only 56 of these planes were ever in service.</p> <p>While the later DC-6 and DC-7 were pressurized, they still flew much lower than the soon-to-appear jets – 20,000 feet compared to 30,000 feet – and often encountered turbulence. The piston engines were bulky, complex and difficult to maintain, which contributed to frequent delays.</p> <p>For much of this period, the old saying “Time to spare, go by air” still rang true.</p> <p>Through the 1930s and into the 1940s, almost everyone flew first class. Airlines did encourage more people to fly in the 1950s and 1960s by introducing coach or tourist fares, but the savings were relative: less expensive than first class, but still pricey. In 1955, for example, so-called “bargain fares” from New York to Paris were the equivalent of just over $2,600 in 2014 dollars. Although the advent of jets did result in lower fares, the cost was still out of reach of most Americans. The most likely frequent flier was a white, male businessman traveling on his company’s expense account, and in the 1960s, airlines – with young attractive stewardesses in short skirts – clearly catered to their most frequent flyers.</p> <p>The demographics of travelers did begin to shift during this period. More women, more young people, and retirees began to fly; still, airline travel remained financially out-of-reach for most.</p> <p>If it was a golden age, it only was for the very few.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bKqQgNZylLw?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Jet planes were introduced in the late 1950s, resulting in shorter flight times. But their ticket prices out of reach for the average traveler.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>People also forget that well into the 1960s, air travel was far more dangerous than it is today. In the 1950s and 1960s US airlines experienced at least a half dozen crashes per year – most leading to fatalities of all on board. People today may bemoan the crowded airplanes and lack of on-board amenities, but the number of fatalities per million miles flown has dropped dramatically since since the late 1970s, especially compared to the 1960s. Through at least the 1970s, airports even prominently featured kiosks selling flight insurance.</p> <p>And we can’t forget hijackings. By the mid-1960s so many airplanes had been hijacked that <a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/hijackers/flying-high.htm">“Take me to Cuba”</a> became a punch line for stand-up comics. In 1971 <a href="http://nymag.com/news/features/39593/index2.html">D.B. Cooper</a> – a hijacker who parachuted from a Boeing 727 after extorting $200,000 – might have been able to achieve folk hero status. But one reason US airline passengers today (generally) tolerate security checkpoints is that they want some kind of assurance that their aircraft will remain safe.</p> <p>And if the previous examples don’t dull the sheen of air travel’s “golden age,” remember: in-flight smoking was both permitted and encouraged.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/34177/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/janet-bednarek-144872"><em>Janet Bednarek</em></a><em>, Professor of History, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-dayton-1726">University of Dayton</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/longing-for-the-golden-age-of-air-travel-be-careful-what-you-wish-for-34177">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Virgin Australia announces big news for pet owners

<p>Virgin Australia has made a major announcement for pet owners who worried about leaving their furry friends at home when they travel. </p> <p>Outgoing Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka announced on Thursday that they will be the first Australian airline to let small animals travel in the cabin. </p> <p>The revolutionary move is subject to regulatory approval, but if it gets through, Virgin will launch the pet flights on specific domestic routes within the next 12 months.</p> <p>Only small animals will be allowed to travel under the new rules, with specific rows on pet flights reserved for those travelling with their small dogs and cats. </p> <p>They will also be required to be held in a pet carrier under the seat in front of the owner for the duration of the flight, and will not be able to roam around freely or sit on people’s laps for the entirety of the journey.</p> <p>“Overwhelmingly, our guests tell us they want to travel with their pets, and we are now on a journey to make that a reality. It’s something that commonly happens overseas and is proven to work well,” Hrdlicka said.</p> <p>“Almost 70 per cent of Australian households have a pet, so this announcement is really significant for a large proportion of the country."</p> <p>“It’s also a great thing for pet-friendly accommodation providers who will benefit greatly from increased connectivity and the ease for travellers to fly with their pets. It really will be a whole new economy for pet travel in Australia.”</p> <p>This change will not affect existing arrangements for approved service animals, and passengers travelling with larger pets could still pay for them to be transported as cargo.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Virgin Australia</em></p>

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