You meet people on airplanes all the time - Is Love in the Air?
“If love is in the Air – then what the hell should I say?”
Aviation facts are cool!…OK, maybe not for everyone. But you do need an opening line for when that opportunity sits right down next to you.
Here’s our opening gambits… God help us all.
We like to educate and train our community here at WT Towers. So why not in love? Or at least helping you start new friendships? I mean we are not qualified in this area, nor do we practice what we preach when it comes to good relationship advice.
But what we can do we can suggest a few lesser-known aircraft-related facts. So, you could, I don’t know, break the ice?
Flights of Fancy
Warning – Our topic suggestions include Explosives, Rats, and Radiation.
But at least your potential new “friend” will turn to you and say, “No way! – shut the front door!”. And you can look him/her/them in their unsure but sparkling eyes and say “It’s 100% true”
Now we do not say “Pick up lines”. That’s crass and non-technical. We are technical warriors here at WT. Warriors for the truth and the fight against lines like “So where you headed?”. To which you should always answer “same place as you, knucklehead”.
Don't be a knuckle-head
Good. Let’s set the scene. You’re sitting there in seat 14C. The window seat next to you is still empty. Just like your heart. You watch the stream of people dissipate into their seats and it looks like they’re about to shut the door.
Your joy at having the seat free is tinged by thoughts of what might have been. But when you check your passport in the same pocket for the 37th time since you left the house, a shadow falls over you. The shadow speaks in the dulcet tones of the opposite sex. Or the same sex. And says “Sorry, that’s my seat”. Love is in the Air for realsies.
Love is in the Air
As they take their seat your keen eye picks up clues that they are a successful doctor. A surgeon most likely. Surely just back from a Medicine-San-frontiers gig in Somalia. But more important than saving children in war-torn Africa, you’ve spotted they’re not wearing a wedding ring. Hakuna Matata.
A quiet beat as the aircraft pushes back and now’s your chance. You know the “chance”. There’s a slot for 5 minutes after pushback when you need to start that conversation, or the holy rule of the Air pods applies. But what do you say? I mean you can’t just blurt out that you’re headed to a conference in Sheboygan for electro-hydraulic actuators. You’re not an absolute lunatic.
Well, we got you. We have five pret-ty solid aviation related conversation starters. Which could be a doorway to a new love is in the air life! Or save you from yourself.
So, lets got to it!
"There's Explosives on Board"
Ok – In hindsight this is not the greatest first example. Or thing to say. It could get you in a lot of trouble unless you explain yourself fast. Which you will. But if you’re an edgy, gamey kind gal (or guy). Or from Florida. It just might work.
Then feel free to use this one. And it’s 100% true. All commercial aircraft have fusible bolts on the Tyre walls. If there’s a problem, like a hard landing or extreme braking, these plugs will explode outward.
They shoot away from the aircraft and allow the tire to deflate uniformly. Otherwise, the tire might explode and cause untold damage to other tires or the braking system, or the fuselage itself. An older aircraft – the MD80 has a jettison-able rear cone section that also uses explosive bolts to remove the entire tail section so the aircraft can deploy a raft.
"There's a RAT on board"
But only if you’re flying on an Airbus Family Aircraft. It’s a French thing, rats. I mean haven’t you seen ratatouille? The A320 family of aircraft has several back-up safety systems in the event of a loss of electric or hydraulic power.
But there’s also a “last resort system” called the RAT or RAM AIR TURBINE. This is a basic propeller attached to an electric generator. It’s hidden under the fuselage skin. In an emergency a special door opens, and the RAT Fan drops out into the air stream. The air turns the RAT like a windmill, which powers the generator. It can power aircraft systems that can be used to control the aircraft or restart the engines.
"The COOPER Vane"
Yes, you’ve heard of D.B. Cooper. Who hasn’t? Even your new Doctor/Surgeon friend has. Well, did you know they had to redesign the B727 after his famous hijack? And even named the eventual “fix” as the COOPER VANE. You see, the B727 had a unique feature. It had an inbuilt AIRSTAIRS that dropped from underneath the tail section onto the tarmac.
People would disembark from them if the airport didn’t have jetways. Or the airline just wanted to save ground handling costs. Cooper knew this and he knew that the door and the airstairs could be accessed in-flight. So that’s exactly what he did. He hijacked a B727 and asked the pilots to land somewhere warm. But at a low altitude just short of the airport, he dropped the airstairs wearing a parachute and was never seen again. Boeing’s fix was a lock on the outside that stopped this happening again.
"You can't open the door mid-flight"
You think about it every time you pass that door. Or every time you sneak up there to try to blag one last Bud light before they start the descent. We know you do. Well don’t worry, if you and your fellow travelers wrapped a rope around the door mechanism and tried to wrench it open, you would all fail.
The door design, combined with cabin pressure means that one person (or many) could not open the door even if they somehow managed to access the mechanism. Just hope they don’t screw around with the nitrogen cannister attached to the escape slide that’s built into the door. That would be bad.
"Autoland - when the aircraft lands itself"
I mean do we really need pilots anymore? (Editor: Yes, we do). But there are a lot of flights right now, as you read this, being undertaken by the aircraft systems combined with airport landing systems called the ILS (Instrument landing system). All under the supervision of the pilots of course. This is a handy feature to have if the weather is poor or when you rush into the cockpit only to find the pilots incapacitated, like in the movies.
If you did, you’d be looking hard for that Autoland button. At a point prior to reaching the runway there’s a thing called the DH (Decision height). Pilots reach this designated height and if they don’t have clear visual proof that a runway exists in their immediate future, then they must perform a go-around.
But the Autoland system cares not for such annoying limitations, instead relying on the dizzying array of information from its airborne devices, the Airport landing systems and GPS and ADS-B positioning to split the centerline like John Travolta does in his B707. Hopefully.
"Cabin Air is full of germs"
3 minutes. That’s how often the air changes in the cabin. All of it. And no, it’s not recycled, if that guy in 13-A says that again just slap his face and tell him to get an aeronautical degree. Air is taken from the outside, conditioned, filtered by HEPA filters down to a microbial level only matched on the international space station, cooled, and delivered to your section just above your head.
This air falls past your beautiful new friends face to the floor-vents below and is sent back out into the atmosphere. Air does not enter from the cockpit and flow down to you in row thirty-seven, so stop with that nonsense. And this is good air too, from out there at 36,000 feet. So, it was fairly good to start with.
So good luck my friendly traveler. Keep these nuggets of gold safe in your brain for the right moment. When they will be most impactful. And if it fails then don’t worry. Just tell them the one about the dead dog at Malpensa.
Or if they’re rude, tell them to make sure they don’t sit on the aircraft toilet while using their phone. Especially on a clear blue day. Absolutely nothing will happen, but you’ll scare the shit out of them, and this might also speed up the bathroom queue on my flight to Panama City Beach. Love is in the air folks.