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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Common flying myths debunked!

ANI   September 26, 2013
First Published: 16:25 IST(26/9/2013) | Last Updated: 16:27 IST(26/9/2013)

Certain myths, conspiracy theories, urban legends, and plain old misunderstandings about commercial air travel which had been accepted as conventional wisdom, have been busted.

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The most common misconception is that the air on planes is filthy and full of germs, but Patrick Smith, an airline pilot, has set the record straight by revealing that studies have shown that the air in a crowded airplane is a lot less germ-laden than most crowded spaces, News.com.au reported.

People believe that modern commercial jets essentially fly themselves, with the pilots on hand merely as a backup in case of trouble, but the author of the book 'Cockpit Confidential' said that the modern technology helps a pilot fly a plane the way it helps a surgeon perform an operation.

He added that the 'autopilot' is a device that allows pilots to take their hands off the wheel but they still have to tell the system what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.

Smith, who also has a website askthepilot.com, said that the myth that pilots cut back airflow to save fuel, and tinker with oxygen levels to keep passengers docile is ridiculous as the rate and volume of airflow is mostly automatic which keeps the strength and volume of airflow consistent.

He also revealed that the altitudes, speeds and angles the passengers perceive often aren't close to the real thing.

Smith debunked another myth that flying is expensive highlighting the fact that studies have shown that the average cost of an airline ticket has declined 50 % over the past three decades making flying cheaper than ever before.


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