Posts tagged ‘airplane’

The US Postal Service is FedEx’s Largest Customer

By Chad Upton | Editor

FedEx Express currently owns 697 airplanes, with another 48 on order. That makes FedEx the 6th largest airline by fleet size. They operate more Airbus 300 and 310 airplanes than any other airline and there are only five airlines with more planes than FedEx.

  1. Delta Air Lines
  2. SkyWest
  3. United Airlines
  4. Lufthansa
  5. Southwest Airlines

The next five airlines after FedEx are: American Airlines, Air France-KLM, International Airlines Group, Air Canada, and Chine Southern Airlines.

The FedEx airfreight concept was dreamt up by Fred Smith who wrote a college paper proposing the idea. His professor gave the paper a ‘C’ grade and that’s kind of how the company started out in 1971.

At one point, the company was losing up to a million US dollars per month. Smith tried to raise capital from General Dynamics, who turned him down. While waiting for his flight home to Memphis, he decided to take a detour to Las Vegas where he won $27,000 — enabling the company to make payroll the week after.

That gave him enough time to raise between $50 and $70 million in additional funding. By 1976, it was a profitable company that set many trends in the industry. They were the first shipping company to computerize and offer parcel tracking. In 1994, they were the first shipping company offer online tracking.

Tip: Enter a FedEx, UPS or USPS tracking number in google and you’ll get a link to the tracking info.

Fedex’s largest customer is actually the US Postal Service. This is a bit strange since FedEx introduced its overnight mail service in 1981 to compete directly with the USPS’s express mail service. But, in 2001, FedEx signed a deal to carry Express and Priority Mail for the USPS — that contract has been extended to 2013.

Last but not least, the FedEx logo has an arrow between the letters “E” an “x”.

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Sources: wikipedia (world’s largest airlines, fedex)

March 8, 2012 at 2:00 am 3 comments

The Hidden Lever to Raise Airplane Armrests

By Chad Upton | Editor

Airplanes are cramped places.

The leg room is short, the aisles are thin and the headroom isn’t room at all. The bathrooms provide some private space and a complimentary gymnastics lesson.

If you’re tall, fitting your knees behind the seat in front of you is a painful reality that many of us live with each trip, unless you get an exit row, a courtesy upgrade or a hole in your wallet.

Even if you’re not very tall, when you stand up in your seat, you have to duck to avoid a head-on-collision with the overhead bin, especially in smaller regional jets.

But, a few years ago, I saw a person in the row ahead of me raise the aisle armrest. That was a game changer for me. No more ducking! Simply raise the armrest, then stand up while you slide off your seat into the aisle.

There are a few planes that do not have movable aisle armrests. However, most of them have a small lever or button on the underside of the armrest, near the hinge. Pushing or sliding this lever will release the hinge lock, allowing you to raise the armrest.

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January 17, 2011 at 2:00 am 10 comments

Why Airplane Shades Must Be Up for Takeoff and Landing

By Chad Upton | Editor

You may not have heard of this, but it’s law in some countries and it’s growing in popularity around the world. The reason is similar to why the airlines dim the interior lights during takeoffs and landings at night.

In short, it’s for safety in the event of an accident. With the window shades up, passengers and crew can spot dangers outside the planes before they open an emergency exit. Dangers like fire, water and running airplane engines can be hazardous if someone opens an emergency exit right into them.

During bright daylight, it also allows your eyes to adjust to the brightness outside, which could be critical during an accident.

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Photo: contraption (cc)

Sources: Airliners.net, Straight Dope

December 10, 2010 at 2:00 am 2 comments

Altitude Does Not Increase the Effect of Alcohol

By Chad Upton | Editor

Whether you’re in a plane, at the top of a ski hill or reading this in the mile high city, your body will metabolize alcohol exactly the same in all cases.

It is a common myth that you get drunk at high altitude much faster than at lower altitudes. In fact, I set out to research why this is the case, only to find out it’s not the truth.

As you can probably imagine, they didn’t have any trouble finding volunteers to help them get to the bottom of this — it has been studied and studied and studied and studied (PDF).

Even without alcohol, high altitudes can induce high-altitude sickness, which happens because there is less oxygen in the air. Because the symptoms are much the same as a hangover (headache, nausea, vomiting…etc), the effects of alcohol are often confused with high-altitude sickness. In fact, there is a study that shows Alcohol can impede the initial stages of adapting to high altitude; therefore, it is recommended that people do not drink for the first couple days while their body acclimatizes to the lower oxygen levels of high altitudes.

A study with alpine skiers in Austria tested blood-alcohol content at sea-level and at 10,000 feet. After drinking a liter of beer, their blood-alcohol levels were the same regardless of altitude.

An FAA study (PDF) found that both alcohol and altitude affect pilot performance, but there was no interaction between the two. Altitude does affect your ability to perform tasks, but that effect is present with or without alcohol. Another US government funded study found the same thing, concluding, “there was no synergistic interactive effect of alcohol and altitude on either breathalyzer readings or performance scores.”

From my observations, college loans are another popular way to get government money to study the effects of alcohol.

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Sources: Pub Med, High Altitude, Annals, FAA (PDF), AHA

Photo: evilmidori (cc)

Relevant:

Professionals should always supervise detox from alcohol and other drugs to prevent any untoward medical mishaps.

May 19, 2010 at 5:00 am 9 comments

Airplanes Refresh Cabin Air 20 Times an Hour

I was on an airplane a couple days ago and the person in front of me was coughing a lot, they sounded really sick.

I was just starting my vacation and the last thing I wanted was to get sick. So, I couldn’t help thinking about being trapped on the plane for the next four hours, breathing the same air as them.

I started to think about the air quality in general. I mean, people always talk about how bad jetliner air quality is, but I really didn’t know much about it.

I did some research and the air quality on planes, at least newer ones, seems pretty good.

Firstly, the air is not circulated from front to back, it is circulated side to side. That means you’re mostly sharing the air with the people in your immediate area, not the entire plane, which reduces the spread of germs. (more…)

March 11, 2010 at 3:12 am 4 comments

Why do Airplanes Fly at High Altitudes?

A few years ago, I was on a short, low altitude flight on a cold December evening in the Northeast. Because it was a short flight to a tiny airport, the aircraft was a small turboprop plane.

The flight was bumpy from the start. Somewhere in the middle, the flight crew was providing beverage service when the captain turned on the fasten seat belt sign. He instructed the crew to return to their seats and buckle up; before they made it to their seats, we hit a low pressure air pocket and the plane took a sudden drop.

It was just like a roller coaster making its towering first drop. We were in free fall for what felt like a really long time, but was probably only a couple of seconds. A few people flew out of their seats and hit their heads on the overhead bins, the crew was in the isle and did the same. Drinks, books, purses and other personal articles were thrown around the cabin, making a huge mess. (more…)

February 23, 2010 at 1:06 am 1 comment

Roadway Marks Used For Speeding Tickets

Look at the two white marks highlighted in the photo below.

Radar is not always the best way to catch speeders, especially in open areas where the police can’t hide.

But, radar isn’t the only option, Police can also use these marks to measure how fast you’re going. This pair of marks will be followed by a second pair further down the highway. In the United States, they’re usually a quarter mile apart and in Canada, 500 meters.

An officer in an airplane or unmarked car will use a stopwatch to time your car between the two pairs of marks. The time it takes will give them your average speed between those two markers, and if it’s high enough then they can write you a ticket. In the case of aerial surveillance, the plane will notify police cars waiting on the ground.

Either way, I’d recommend a good radar detector (where legal of course).

BrokenSecrets.com

Sources: AOL, Nashville.gov, City of Ottawa

Photo: dougtone (creative commons)

January 12, 2010 at 12:40 am 4 comments

Why Airlines Dim Interior Lights Before Night Landings

Airplane Interior LightsMaybe you’ve noticed, maybe not. When you’re in an airplane that is landing at night, they dim the main interior lights upon final approach.

Why?

Because, if the landing does not go well and you need to evacuate the plane, your eyes are better adjusted to the darkness outside.

BrokenSecrets.com

Photo by: jayhay2336

(Flickr/Creative Commons/Attribution)

November 23, 2009 at 12:01 am 4 comments


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