6 Things You Should Know About Airplanes

Posted Apr 10, by Alison Stanton

About 5% of U.S. flights have undercover air marshals.

 

Since 9/11 there have been visible changes in airport security. From more security guards to lots of new screening technology, catching a plane has certainly gotten more complicated since the tragic events that September day. What people don’t realize is that what you physically see is just part of the security policies employed in airports and airplanes. 

For example, air marshals work undercover on airplanes. In all likelihood, you will never know if there is an air marshal on your flight. They dress normally, but they actually carry gun and have the authority to make arrests. They are there both as a preventative measure, since potential hijackers know they might be on the flight, and also in case of emergency to take action. 

Since there are not enough air marshals to be on every flight, they are only on 5% of flights. The number 5% is a rough estimate because exact numbers are kept secret. The flights the marshals are on are also closely guarded secrets, so that no potential lawbreakers can plan knowing whether or not there is a marshal. 

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Two Australian planes collided midair in 1940 and managed to land while still connected!

Two Avro Ansons from Forrest Hill air base in New South Wales, Australia were flying together for a training exercise. They were flying to Corowa, New South Wales piloted by Leonard Graham Fuller and Jack Inglis Hewson. They were flying at an altitude of 1,000 feet when they banked. 

Fuller lost sight of Hewson’s Anson below him and the two planes collided one on top of the other. They stayed stuck together with the upper plane’s engines knocked out, but the lower plane’s engines still turning full speed. The navigators in both planes bailed along with Hewson, the lower plane’s pilot who hurt his back in the crash. 

Fuller realized he still had control over the planes and managed to fly another five miles and make an emergency pancake landing in a large paddock by Brocklesby. The plane on top was fixed and put to flight again. All four crew men survived the bizarre ordeal. 

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A man ate an entire AIRPLANE. How did he do it?



BMW used to manufacture airplanes.

The company we now know as BMW actually started as Rapp-Motorenwerke, a company that manufactured low-quality aircraft engines in a converted bicycle factory near Munich back in 1913. That company later merged with another more successful engine company called Gustav Flugmaschinefabrik, to form Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke (Bavarian Aircraft Works) aka BFW. After securing a contract with the German military they again changed names in 1916 to Bayerische Motore Werke or BMW for short. They then produced the war planes that the Germans used in the first World War.

As part of the Versailles Treaty at the conclusion of WWI, Germany was no longer allowed to produce military aircraft (though, they still did). BMW still secretly produced airplane engines but with the decreased demand for military aircraft engines and a weak post-war German economy, business was struggling. They had to branch out and produce engines for trucks, boats, farming equipment, motorcycles, and finally in 1928, automobiles.

During World War II, BMW found itself producing military vehicles and even rockets for Nazi Germany\'s military. Though their Munich plant was destroyed during the Allied invasion of Germany, the company survived the war, and was allowed to repair vehicles for the Allied troops during the postwar reconstruction. In the decades after the War, BMW gained international renown for its cars. However, if you look at their logo, it\'s actually a picture of a propeller, in reference to the company\'s past.

For a complete history of BMW

A crocodile crashed a plane!

A Czech-built Let 410 plane had reportedly crashed in the Congo because it ran out of fuel. The plane had been traveling between the Congo capital Kinasha to Bandudu. Somewhere between 19 and 20 people were killed in the incident when it crashed near Bandudu. 

While reporters had most of the facts right, they got the reason for the crash wrong. The real story is a whole lot more interesting. The crash was in fact caused by a crocodile. A crocodile on the plane caused passengers to panic. The flight attendant ran towards the cockpit of the plane in fear, and was soon followed there by the rest of the passengers. 

The quick change in the distribution of weight on the plane caused the plane to crash! Of course, it’s interesting to consider why the crocodile was on the plane in the first place. The easy answer is that it’s the Congo. The actual answer is truly not known, since everyone on the flight died. 

Crocodiles crashing planes has happened before in the Congo, particularly in the past when people used to transport bound crocodiles in planes. Their tail meat was a delicacy, which was why people transported them. 

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The man who took the famous photo of the Wright Brothers' first flight had never seen a camera before that day.

It’s amazing to think what someone can achieve with such little preparation. His name was John Thomas Daniels, and starting on December 17, 1903, he was an amateur photographer. On that day, he took the famous photograph of the Wright brothers’ first flight. “Amateur” is really an overstatement though. Daniels was so excited by seeing the plane go in the air that almost forgot the instructions of how to take a picture. 

It was a Gundlach Korona view camera that he took the photo on, and of course it was the first he had ever seen. The camera had belonged to the Wright Brothers, actually. That day, the Wright brothers made four flights, three of which still have photographic proof to this day. They attempted to make a fifth flight, but a powerful gust of wind began pushing the plane and Daniels attempted to help hold down the aircraft by grabbing on to it. 

He was caught between the wings and the plane flipped over. Luckily, he wasn’t hurt. Allegedly, he told the story of how he “survived the first airplane crash” for the remainder of his life. 

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