The Mystery of Aircrafts

Ever since the MH370 incident, I think people all over the world are starting to take note of the many things they do not know about aircraft. Today, as I wait at the airport for an aeroplane to arrive, I once again came across a mystery — why does the same airplane bear different airline numbers?

You may not notice it, but the same flight can have different numbers — Qantas QF81, then MU to represent China Eastern, and a variety of other numbers, but all on the same flight, with the same plane. I can only assume the flight number is not strictly the aeroplane’s numberplate, but is rather a sign that the airplane’s entire route started perhaps from China, which is why it was sanctioned by the Chinese airline, then flew to Australia, and landed in Singapore. None of the civilians, as far as I know, have ever derived a satisfactory answer to this.

A second question is, well, just what is behind flight delays? When a plane is delayed, is it literally circling the airport tower, looking for a chance to land? How do airplanes coordinate their landing so they do not bump into each other? These are perhaps more of questions of curiosity and technical details, which we cannot hope to understand anyway, but it would be interesting just how these signals are communicated around among the airport and the many planes.

After all, the MH370 incident has shed light on some strange practices, such as sending position signals that aren’t equivalent to actual position, for one. We certainly hope our pilots know what they’re doing, but it’s quite interesting that the realm of aeroplanes has so much of its own technical knowledge. How do planes handle turbulence and storms? How does cabin pressure drop? What happens when a plane is travelling over ocean and encounters problems? What happens if it’s over land? Why do we always see the wings when we look out our windows?

Okay that last question is a bit troll, but it is true that pretty much the entire aircraft is a “wing seat”. There’s never a position, I find, where you don’t find some part of the wing blocking your view.

And of course the mystery behind airplane food. They say our appetites drop when we’re at high altitudes. They also say airplane meals are specially prepared and designed. What were the considerations? Is it that the food really tastes bad or is it attributed to our decreased appetite? So many many questions.

We will find answers on the internet, of course, as it is for everything, but the documentaries I’ve seen tended to put airplane food in a positive light (for Singapore Airlines, at any rate) so I’m inclined to take it with a pinch of salt.

What other things have you always been wondering about planes?

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