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How Airlines Make Flight Safe

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While it’s commonplace these days, it wasn’t all that long ago that flight was thought to be impossible. Even today, there are many factors working against aircraft, and much of airplane design is based around trying to overcome otherwise insurmountable forces. Here’s what you need to know.

Air Traffic

While the average person doesn’t have to consider the logistics of air traffic, that’s only because the problem has already been addressed. The traffic into and out of airports could potentially devolve into chaos due to the inherent limitations of planes in particular. However, air traffic controllers work to coordinate between the control tower of the airport and any planes with overlapping trajectories. This is accomplished via radio communication and fleet GPS monitoring to track the planes. This helps to minimize the occurrence of potential collisions, and without this service, commercial airlines probably wouldn’t be as widely available as they are today. Luckily, this problem is scarce outside of urban areas, because there are simply far fewer airplanes than cars and more sky than road.

Air Pressure

One of the most important features of commercial airliners is comfort. Not have flights become commonplace, but they are sometimes commonplace for specific people in certain lines of work. For that reason, flying commercially needs to be comfortable, and the most impressive way in which this is achieved is one that also often goes without notice. The hull of an airplane is designed to provide air pressure stability inside the cabin of a plane, and this accomplishes a few things. For starters, most of the noise and much of the turbulence inherent to air travel is eliminating, making for a more relaxing experience. However, the pressurization of the cabin also protects against the ill effects of drastic altitude changes. The reason that all commercial airplanes feature oxygen bags is to allow passengers withstand the depressurization of the cabin much more easily, whereas it would otherwise debilitate or even injure them.

Hidden Safety Features

Because there is a lot of potential danger when flying, and because that risk isn’t tenable, the modern commercial airliner has been designed with safety in mind. This manifests in several ways, but one of the most interesting is that of hiding safety features in plain sight. Protecting passengers is important, but it’s also important to note that many people have an irrational fear of flying, despite the fact that it is safer than driving a car, on average. In order to address possible safety concerns without putting passengers on edge, aircraft designers have found several clever ways of hiding important safety features, such as hiding oxygen bags in the ceiling of the cabin, from where they can be released only when necessary.

Maintenance

Airplanes are complex machines made up of many moving parts. Like any such machine, and certainly like any vehicle, airplane parts degrade over time with use. This means that airplanes are subject to the same maintenance requirements as a car with one important exception. While flying is typically safer than driving, a major mechanical failure would be far more detrimental to the passengers of a plane than to the driver of a car. Because of this, airplane maintenance is scheduled strictly and frequently, and an inspection is required no less than once per year. This helps to ensure the highest possible certainty that a given plane is in perfect working order before each flight, reducing the risk of potential hardware malfunctions and subsequent crashes. While there is no way to eliminate all possible hazards, regular maintenance and inspection can prevent the vast majority of problems.

While flight is readily available to most people these days, it’s important to keep in mind how impressive it is. While things typically go off without a hitch in modern aviation, that’s only the result of careful consideration of various factors and the tireless dedication and attention to detail of aircraft pilots and designers.

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