Airplanes have fascinated the masses ever since the Wright Brothers soared off the dunes at Kittyhawk. Ready to amaze and impress your friends with your command of airworthy factoids? Enhance your high-flying IQ (and your popularity at aviation parties) with these nine aviation truths.
1) On average, on any given day at any given hour, there are approximately 61,000 people flying the friendly skies over the USA.
2) How busy is Chicago’s O’Hare Airport? An airplane takes off or lands once every 37 seconds.
3) On commercial flights, the pilot and co-pilot never eat the same meal. That way, in the unfortunate case of food poisoning, they won’t both be simultaneously stricken by the same dish.
4) Think some of your household items are complicated? Have a look at the Airbus A380, the largest passenger airliner in the world: it consists of a whopping 4 million parts to lift it off the ground and up to cruising altitude.
5) Legendary pilot Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in October 1947 flying an X-1, better known by its nickname “Glamorous Glennis.” Friends of the family would’ve instantly recognized the namesake: Glennis was Yeager’s wife.
6) When their pilots switched from a 45-pound bag of papers to an iPad, United Airlines estimated the savings in weight would equal 326,000 gallons of fuel saved every year.
7) After taking a ride at an air show in 1920, Amelia Earhart worked as a photographer and truck driver to save enough money for flying lessons.
8) During his 33.5-hour trans-Atlantic flight, Charles Lindbergh fought off sleep by flying slightly above the surface of the ocean, hoping the icy-cool sea spray would keep him alert.
9) Supersonic/hypersonic air travel is no longer the stuff of science fiction. Companies like Lockheed Martin have futuristic aircraft in development and are calling for test flights as early as 2023. Can you imagine traveling from London to Australia in 2 hours? Stay tuned, aviation fans.