20 Facts You Didn’t Know About Aircraft

They’re big, they’re powerful, and they are built to fly seamlessly even in relatively harsh conditions. These are mostly known truths about aircraft, but there are lots of other facts that make them even more fascinating.

I have recently caught up with Captain Nigel Webster who, with a whopping 44 years of flying experience behind him, knows a thing or two (or a 1,000) about aircraft and has given me some really interesting facts to share with you today. Enjoy!

  • The navigation system on the Airbus and other modern jets is descended from a design for the Apollo space programme.
  • The electronic terrain clearance map on the Airbus and other modern jets was originally designed for cruise missiles.
  • We can send a text message from the aircraft in the air. (Operational use only!)

Credit: Flying_Foxoir (Instagram)

  • We can ring any telephone number in the world from the aircraft in the air. (Operational use only!)
  • On Airbus and other European aircraft, a switch is ‘on’ when it is down. On Boeings and other US aircraft, it is ‘on’ when it is up.
  • There is no Row 13 in our aircraft cabins.
  • The aircraft paperwork is called the Ship’s Papers.

Credit: Captain Robert Kooyman

  • The cockpit side windows are called the windscreens, but the front windows are called the windshields.
  • When making a tight turn on the ground, one of the two nose wheel tyres comes off the ground.
  • The strobe lights on the wing tips of an Airbus make a double flash. On a Boeing they make a single flash.
  • When you flush the toilet on the Airbus and other modern jets, you are opening a hole in the pressure hull (into the unpressurised part of the aircraft, not overboard!)
  • When we make a tight turn on the runway, the pilot will be over the grass when the turn is started.
  • From the flight deck we can see only the wingtips, not the engines.

Credit: beckettal1 (Instagram)

  • When the main wheels touch down, the A321 pilot is still 21ft above the runway.
  • Airbus pilots have a folding table in front of them. (Boeing pilots do not.)
  • A full fuel load on our A321s is up to 26,700 litres.
  • All the essential flying and system information is supplied to the two pilots on a total of six screens.
  • The three hydraulic systems on an Airbus 320/321 are named after colours – green, yellow, blue.
  • There are over 200 computers in an Airbus A320.

Credit: Flying_Foxoir (Instagram)

  • On descending to land a synthetic (male) voice calls out our height above the ground.

And here you go, 20 juicy facts about aircraft! Did you know any of them? What surprised you the most? let us know in the comments below!