We got in touch with Captain Hamish Maxwell from Vistara, a Tata-SIA airline to discuss some of the common security myths, interesting facts, and other pertinent points about an airplane.
Studies over the years have proven that aviation, of all the forms of transport, gets the most joy and satisfaction.
- Be it managing an aircraft fly over your house or be it touring on a plane, the happiness factor is far more than any other form of travel. But like every other useful thing, aviation has its demerits too, safety being at the very top.
Numerous people have an innate fear of flying and the current spree of crashes, including the Boeing 737 Max further aggravated it.
Also, strict rules and regulations like switching off the phone or opening the window shades confuse people even more.
Investigations have also found that even seasoned visitors are not aware of the reasons after all these strict guidelines inside an aircraft.
We brought in contact with Captain Hamish Maxwell from Vistara Airline, a Tata-SIA alliance venture to discuss some of these common safety myths, interesting facts, and other pertinent details that will support you fly with a calm mind next time you board any of the aircraft. Here’s our QnA-
Why must your seat be upright for take-off and landing?
Captain Hamish Maxwell – Keeping the seats upright provides more space for passengers to get to the aisle, which makes evacuation easier in the case of an emergency.
Again, it helps limit injuries to passengers who would otherwise see it harder or take longer to get into the brace work if the seat isn’t secured in its upright position.
Why must window shades be up for take-off and landing?
Captain Hamish Maxwell – Passengers are requested to keep window shades open while take-off and landing to ensure emergency preparedness.
If an emergency occurs on the runway, passengers and crew may be needed to evacuate the aircraft directly.
In such a scenario, open window shades would support the crew to be aware of the surroundings, weather conditions, terrain, etc. which will support them to execute an efficient evacuation.
Why would pilots dump fuel before landing the aircraft?
Captain Hamish Maxwell – Some large airplanes have a fuel dumping capability which is used in certain situations to reduce aircraft weight.
When an airplane takes off, it is usually heavier than its landing weight limit as it is expected to burn fuel during the flight to reach this weight threshold by the time it is close to its destination.
However, in situations when the aircraft must land earlier, due to various reasons including emergency landing, pilots may decide to dump the fuel to reduce the aircraft’s weight.
Dumping fuel ensures that the airplane can be flown at a lower speed during approach and landing so that it can be stopped within the available runway length and its certified landing weight.
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Why are cabin lights are dimmed for take-off and landing?
- Captain Hamish Maxwell – The logic to dim the cabin lights during take-off and landing is similar to why window shades are needed to be open.
- It takes a while for our eyes to fully adjust to a dark environment. Dimming the lights helps passengers in adapting to low light.
- This can make a significant difference in case of an emergency at night if everyone is needed to evacuate. Again, in dim light, emergency lighting and illuminated pathways are more visible.
Why do you must put your mobile phones on airplane mode/ switch them off?
Why are aircraft windows round in shape?
Captain Hamish Maxwell – Stress caused due to the pressure difference between the cabin and the outside atmosphere gets concentrated at corners, where the edges of square windows meet, which may cause harm to the fuselage.
Circular windows can survive extreme pressure differences as they avoid concentration of pressure by allowing the stress to be distributed evenly, thereby preventing damage to the plane.
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