Airplanes have revolutionized the way in which we travel. Since the advent of commercial airlines, we can now quickly and easily travel across the world. Even if you’re familiar with airplanes, though, there are probably some things you don’t know about them. Below are five of the most common airplane myths that you shouldn’t believe.
#1) Lightning Strikes Can Take Down Airplanes
It’s not uncommon for airplanes to fly through thunderstorms. Normally, pilots will try to avoid lightning by flying either over or around the thunderstorm. If this isn’t possible, however, passengers can rest assured knowing that a lightning strike won’t take down their airplane. Airplanes are designed with an aluminum fuselage that’s able to safely dissipate lightning without any damage to the airplane itself.
#2) You Can Smoke in Airplanes With Ashtrays
If you fly on a regular basis, you’ll probably discover that many airplanes have ashtrays. Upon seeing an ashtray in the lavatory — or elsewhere inside the cabin — you may assume that it’s okay to smoke, but the reality is that smoking is prohibited on all U.S. flights. Airplanes still have ashtrays because it’s a safer way for passengers to dispose of their cigarettes rather than tossing it in the trash or flushing it down the toilet.
#3) Using Your Mobile Device During Takeoff or Landing Interferes With Navigation Systems
During takeoffs and landings, airlines typically tell passengers to place their mobile devices on airplane mode. The general belief is that using a mobile device like a smartphone will interfere with an airplane’s navigation systems, thus increasing the risk of an accident. The truth, however, is that airplane navigation systems and mobile devices operate on different frequencies. While you should still comply with the airline’s rules, you don’t have to worry about a mobile device causing the airplane to crash.
#4) Airplanes Have Dirty Cabin Air
Another widely believed myth is that the air inside an airplane’s cabin is dirty and heavily polluted. The cabin air is actually filtered using high-efficiency particle filters (HEPA) to remove dirt, dust, germs and other pollutants.
#5) A Small Breach in the Airplane’s Fuselage Can Take It Down
Finally, some people believe that any small breach in an airplane’s fuselage can take it down. While large breaches can certainly pose a problem, small breaches — should they occur — do not. If an airplane develops a small breach in its fuselage, the pressurize will equalize, at which point the pilot can safely land it.