Airplanes aren’t just seats, wings and engines. These massive man-made machines are very complex. There must have come a time in your life in which you wondered about what goes into the making of these beasts.
Every traveler spends a lot of time doing air travel, and everyone must have felt, during one of their travels, powerless against their ignorance of some things inside the plane they don’t know the meaning of.
Airlines don’t provide that much information about those things you always wonder about. The relationship between the airline and the traveler shouldn’t be limited to the exchange of money and a flight ticket. It should go way beyond that. You should be kept informed about everything!
But you needn’t worry; we’re here to help. We have written this article to tell you about the 10 things you find inside planes and don’t know the purpose behind. Read through and you’ll reach your next destination less stressed about your ignorance of all things airplane.
#1 – The Weird Triangle
During an incident, such as a plane crash, you need to reach the emergency exit as soon as possible. You have probably noticed during one of your international travels that there is a weird triangle right above your window.
Also, you probably didn’t know what purpose there was behind it. Well, it is put there to function as a reference point for the flight crew for them to assess whether the wings have ice forming on them or some other problem. These triangles provide the clearest view on the wings.
#2 – The Flange on the Wing
People with seats that have a view on the plane’s wings notice this all the time. It is a small object that appears to be fused with the plane’s wing.
Those of you who have seen this before might have thought that it was used to lift the airplane, but you would be wrong. It is an important element in the evacuation process.
In case of an emergency in which you find your self having to step through the exit located above the wing, ropes will be tied to that flange to keep you from slipping on the surface of the wing.
#3 – The Hum You Hear While You Board the Plane
Every time! You can’t help but hear the humming sound every time you board the plane. This sound can be heard even if the engines aren’t running.
That’s because the plane is running. That sound you hear is produced by the plane’s APU, or auxiliary power unit. This unit is responsible for keeping the plane’s electricity working at all times.
When the plane is standing still getting ready for everyone to board this system stays plugged in. It is unplugged right before takeoff and the plane switches to its main power supply.
#4 – Tomato Juice
During the flight, the sound of the engines affects our taste and smell receptors, making us feel that the food we’re eating is dull to the taste. The receptors are further affected by the high altitude and the dry air inside the cabin.
So if you find yourself ordering a salty tomato juice from the menu, don’t be amazed at yourself. All the elements that work against your sense of taste and smell are to blame because they leave you craving for something salty.
#5 – Window Shades Open During Landing and Take-Off
Flight attendants like to tell people to open their window shades during landing and takeoff. They don’t get any satisfaction from telling you to do that, they tell you so because it’s protocol—it is part of the airplane safety instructions.
The reasoning behind this is as follows: if a plane loses power during an emergency, the windows are the only source of light available. That is the only way the flight crew can see inside the cabin.
#6 – Winglets
Airplanes try to fight all kinds of forces while they’re in the air and especially during takeoff and landing. Some of these forces are called wingtip vortices, which pull on the tips of the wing and can topple the airplane.
Engineers came up with winglets as a solution. They are put in place to prevent this phenomenon from ever happening and causing a catastrophe. Thank God for the wisdom of engineers.
#7 – Side Stick
This looks like a joystick and it is used to control the airplane. It usually located on the right-hand side of the pilot, and they are usually found in aircrafts that have a “fly-by-wire” control system.
Moreover, there are two of these: one is used by the pilot and the other by the copilot. They move, however, in sync—that is to say, one copies the movement of the other.
#8 – Bleed Air System
Don’t you find it weird that you can breathe in an ordinary manner during your flight? Of course, you do! The system that makes this a possibility is an ingenious one.
It is called the bleed air system and is responsible for keeping airflow inside the cabin, keeping the passengers and the flight crew breathing oxygen at all times. It is also used to keep the right amount of pressure inside the plane.
#9 – The Cockpit Window’s Eye Level Indicator
The pilot needs to be sitting properly on his or her seat in order to fly the plane in the right manner. Seats on planes can move to fit every the shape of every pilot.
The cockpit window, moreover, has eye level indicators that help the pilot adjust the seat in a fashion that lets him have the perfect view, allowing him or her to see out of the window properly and have all the controls in his or her eye view.
#10 – The Hole in Your Window
This little hole must have scared you the first time you saw it. Who wouldn’t be scared? What you don’t know is that it was put there to keep the pressure inside the cabin and that outside the plane at equal levels.
If these holes didn’t exist, the windows would shatter under the immense force of the pressure applied to them. You wouldn’t like that, so be grateful they exist.
Next time you board the plane, you won’t be so ignorant. Now you know the purpose behind a lot of things inside the plane! Enjoy your knowledge. 😉
Before you go, tell us in the comments below about the thing that surprised you the most in this list.