Happy International Civil Aviation Day! Declared to be a celebration in 1996, it’s celebrated on December 7, the anniversary of the signing of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation. It established the International Civil Aviation Organization – ICAO – which is kind of a big deal. To celebrate this International Civil Aviation Day with this list of lesser-known aviation fun facts!
- You have heard about olives and pilots eating separate meals. But did you know that Singapore Airlines spends $700 million on food every year? $16 million is spent on wine alone.
- However, airlines have to be careful with the food they give you. Your taste-buds act differently on a plane due to pressure changes. For example, you can’t taste salty things that well.
- The victorious Boeing 747 (RIP, Airbus A380) jumbo jet is made up of six million parts and 240-280 kilometers of wires. No surprise that airline maintenance is such a sticky issue.
- Furthermore, each of the 4(!) Boeing 747 engines weighs around 4,300 kilos (9,500 pounds).
- Speaking of engines, planes going in for a landing often set their engines to “flight idle,” where they’re operating, but not providing the push. Therefore, when the plane is landing, the engines can all die without affecting anything.
- The strobe lights on the wingtips of an Airbus flash twice, on a Boeing – once. Why? Who knows!
- The Soviet An-2 biplane has the longest production run (1947-2001) of any plane and is the most mass-produced (18,000+ built) air transport. You can still fly one today – people love operating them in rugged conditions.
- An-2 has no stall speed (that is, there is no speed under which the plane starts descending without a stop) and it’s theoretically possible – wind permitting – for it to fly backward.
- The tail rotor on a helicopter is there to prevent the main rotor from spinning the hull in place. Unlike an An-2, a helicopter thirsts for your blood.
- At 12% humidity, the air in an airplane cabin is drier than most deserts. Stay hydrated! It’s also colder than most deserts, but I’m sure you noticed that already.
- That dry air is filtered through air filters similar to those employed in hospitals, so it’s sterile (unlike the tray or any other surface you can reach inside the plane).
- Passengers account only for about 10% of the plane’s take-off weight. Fuel takes the biggest part.
- For various good reasons (cheeky smokers being one of them), airplane lavatories can be unlocked from the outside.
- It took only 11 years from Wright’s Brothers’ first flight in 1903 for someone to come up with an airliner. That’s a bit less than the 15 years it took Charles Kettering to come up with the Bug, an unmanned aerial torpedo that is the forerunner of the modern cruise missile.
- Qantas invented business class in 1979, but many other airlines were experimenting with creating something between first and economy classes. Currently, airlines are working on inventing a class below the economy.
And you know what the most fun fact about civil aviation is? You can claim compensation for your flight delays, canceled flights, and overbooking! If you experience flight disruption, up to €600 in compensation may be yours! Do it with Skycop – start by checking out our cool flight compensation calculator! Don’t wait for the next International Civil Aviation Day!