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A Few Aviation Facts

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Ever since the first man or woman looked up and saw a bird, humanity has been fascinated by flight. DaVinci tried to build wings. His aerial screw predicts and predates the helicopter by a few hundred years. The Wright Brothers are credited with getting the first man off the ground. Much has changed since that 120 foot flight. Here are a few facts about the industry and its transformation.

The wing span of a Boeing 747 is 75 feet longer than Orville Wright's first flight. The jumbo plane has about 175 miles of wiring and almost 6 million parts.

The world's 747 fleet has logged enough mileage to go to the moon and back almost 100,000 times.

Singapore Airlines has the record for the longest non-stop to New York. Its A350-900 ULR traveled 17 hours and 25 minutes before it stopped for gas.

The world's fastest airliner, the Concorde, could travel twice the speed of sound and traveled best at altitudes of 50,000 to 55,000 feet. (Passengers could see the curvature of the earth at that height.)

It might take the Concorde just under three hours to get from New York to London. That's two hours less than a modern flight.

Don't need to get there that fast? Would rather take anything other than a plane? Have aviophobia? Stop chewing your nails. Airline travel is relatively safe. The odds of you dying in a plane crash are around one in 11,000,000. You're more likely to be struck by lightning (a one in 13,000 life time chance). Dying in a car crash is your best bet (about one in 5,000).

When you consider how many planes are in the air at any given moment, airline safety records are impressive. (While you read this, there may be more than 60,000 people airborne over the USA.)

If you're superstitious and don't want to sit in row 13, fly Lufthansa or KLM. Their planes don't have a row 13.

Still worried? Take a seat near the tail section. That's the safest place to be in case of a crash.

Airlines can spend millions on food. Singapore Airlines spends about $700 million every year. Their wine budget is about $16 million. Lufthansa loves its caviar and buys 10 tons of it per year.

So why does all that food and drink taste like so much mud and cardboard? Because about a third of your taste buds go numb when you're in flight.

Maybe that's why American Airlines knew you wouldn't miss that extra olive in its in-flight salad. They eliminated it and saved $40,000 per year.

You might want to save money on an airline's beer, wine, and cocktails. Water is a wiser choice. Air travel can dehydrate your body. Some studies say you may lose 8 ounces of water per hour of flight!

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