Quiz: Airplane Myths and Facts

Quiz: Airplane Myths and Facts
Image: iStockPhoto

About This Quiz

Although the wonder of human flight has become commonplace, misinformation and rumors abound about airplanes and air travel. Do you, dear frequent flyer, think you can tackle our quiz?
What is the vision requirement to becoming an airline pilot?
You must have 20/20 vision without the aid of corrective lenses.
You must have 20/10 vision with the aid of corrective lenses.
You must have 20/20 vision with or without the aid of corrective lenses.
Back in the day, you would be required to have 20/20 vision without the aid of glasses in order to be an airline pilot, but that isn't so anymore. As long as you can see with 20/20 vision with our without glasses or contact lenses, you should be in the clear.

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Which of the following statements about turbulence is true?
Turbulence only occurs in bad weather, and radar can't detect it.
Turbulence can occur in bad or clear weather, and aircraft radar can't detect it.
Turbulence, which is the biggest cause of in-flight injuries, can actually happen in clear, cloudless weather as well as bad weather. Aircraft radars can't detect it.
Turbulence can occur in bad or clear weather, but aircraft radar can detect it.

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What causes turbulence?
Jet streams, which are shifts of air currents at high altitude.
The sun heats air masses, causing them to rise, while cold air masses sink.
Both of the above cause turbulence.
Several phenomena cause turbulence, including jet streams and masses of hot air rising. Other causes include air passing over mountains and disturbances of air currents from storms or planes nearer to the ground.

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When does an airplane dump fuel?
In emergency situations when the plane needs to land earlier than expected.
A pilot might decide to dump fuel, ejecting it from the wings, if the plane needs to make an unplanned landing soon after takeoff. It's not very common, and it's done to avoid an overweight landing that can damage the plane. It is, however, a safe procedure, and fuel usually evaporates before it hits the ground.
Planes dump fuel before most landings because planes usually carry more fuel than necessary, just in case.
Planes never dump fuel, even when a plane is overweight, because it's too much of a safety risk.

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Approximately how heavy is the fuel in a Boeing 747 when it's filled up to maximum capacity?
About 4,000 lbs (about 1800 kg)
About 40,000 lbs (about 18,000 kg)
About 400,000 lbs (about 181,000 kg)
A Boeing 747 can carry around 60,000 gallons (about 227,0000 liters) of jet fuel. At about 6.7 lbs per gallon (about 0.8 kg per liter), the fuel in a full 747 weighs about 400,000 lbs (about 181,000 kg).

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What kind of mileage does a Boeing 747 get during flight?
About 20 miles per gallon (about 8.5 km per liter)
About 5 miles per gallon (about 2.12 km per liter)
About 0.2 miles per gallon (about 0.8 km per liter)
A Boeing 747 gets only 0.2 miles per gallon (about 0.8 km per liter). But considering that a 747 can carry more than 550 passengers, that can translate to great mileage per passenger.

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When do pilots typically engage the autopilot function?
A pilot engages autopilot during mid-flight, but not usually during takeoff or landing.
Used only rarely during takeoff and landing, autopilot systems are often engaged throughout most of the flight. They can make more precise adjustments and, except in turbulence, can be more fuel efficient.
A pilot only typically engages autopilot during takeoff and landing, because it's better for a computer to do it for such precise procedures.
A pilot will rarely engage autopilot unless there's an emergency that requires the pilot's attention.

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What are the cloudy contrails that spew out of a plane's jet engines made up of?
Contrails consist of jet engine exhaust, including carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfate particles and soot.
Contrails consist of crystalized water vapor from the jet engine.
Both of the above
Contrails are chiefly made up of water vapor that has frozen and crystalized, forming clouds. But they also contain carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfate particles and soot. Conspiracy theorists argue that contrails consist of other, more harmful substances planted by the government and military.

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If a door were to come open in mid-flight, would things and people can get sucked out of the airplane?
Yes, whenever a door is opened in flight, it will cause a violent vacuum force to suck people and other objects out.
It depends. If the cabin is pressurized and the plane is flying at a high altitude, the sudden opening can cause items and people to get sucked out.
It's true that an open door could cause people and other objects to get sucked out, and this has happened before. But it will only happen when the cabin is pressurized and the plane is flying at high altitude.
No, this is an urban legend.

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Why is it near-impossible for a panicked passenger to open an airplane door in mid-flight?
Opening an airplane door is very difficult in mid-flight because most are "plug-type" doors.
Pressurization in the cabin exerts a force that makes a door difficult to open.
Both of the above are reasons why a door is so hard to open on an airplane in mid-flight.
A plug-type door means the door is basically bigger than the opening, making it hard to open. It takes a specific motion, like rotating a special handle and pulling inward, to get it open. Pressurization in the cabin also makes it near-impossible for multiple people (let alone one person) to open a door during mid-flight.

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You Got:
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