2016 - 03/12 [Sat] - 11:30


1. Pilots dump human waste mid-air: MYTH

Waste from aeroplanes is held in a tank until the aircraft lands. The tank can only be emptied using an exterior lever, so it is physically impossible for the pilot to empty the tank while the plane is in the air, according to an FAA fact sheet.

People regularly report having waste fall on them, including 'blue ice', which they believe is human waste that has been coloured blue by a chemical added to the toilet water and frozen at high altitudes, before it was dumped from an aeroplane or leaked from the holding tank.

The FAA says they always investigate reports of human waste that has fallen from the sky and it almost always turns out to be bird droppings.



2. You can get stuck on a plane toilet if you flush while sitting down: MOSTLY MYTH

It is possible to get stuck on a toilet if your body forms a perfect seal on the toilet seat. However, this is very difficult to do. The boys from Mythbusters tested this theory and though Adam Savage experienced strong suction he was able to break the seal and stand up.



3. Oxygen masks get you high: MYTH

Brad Pitt's character in Fight Club, Tyler Durden, might be responsible for the continuation of this myth after he claimed they put oxygen masks on planes because it 'gets you high… Suddenly you become euphoric, docile. You accept your fate.'

Despite the conspiracy theories, oxygen masks allow people to keep breathing if the plane loses cabin pressure at altitudes where the air is oxygen-poor, allowing the pilot to bring the plane down to an altitude where the air is oxygen-rich and people can breathe normally.



4. You should be cautious about drinking the water: FACT

A US study in 2009 found that the water in one out of every seven planes did not meet safety standards. The water supply of some of the planes was infected by E. coli, which is a leading cause of food poisoning. The water is served to passengers as drinking water. It is also used to brew tea and coffee and when it is used for this, it often does not reach high enough temperatures to kill bacteria.



5. The air on planes is full of germs: MYTH

Many people believe the air on a plane is stagnant and full of germs. In reality, the air in an aeroplane is heavily filtered and carries fewer germs than the air in most crowded spaces.

Passengers on board an aircraft breathe in a mixture of fresh air and recirculated air. The supply of air comes from the compressor sections of the engines, it is cooled and then run through filters and then re-mixed with a fresh supply from the engine, writes pilot Patrick Smith.

Underfloor filters are used to treat the cabin air are described by Boeing as being of 'hospital quality' and capturing between 94 and 99.9 percent of airborne microbes.



6. Your tray table is a veritable petri dish of germs: FACT

You may not get sick from the air you breathe on a plane, but you could get sick from everything else.

A 2007 study, which tested for incidents of the potentially fatal superbug Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) found that 60 percent of all tray tables on three major American airlines had traces of the bug.

There was a higher incidence of traces of MHRSA on tray tables of planes than anywhere else that was tested, including the New York subway.



7. Opening a plane door while the plane is flying could lead to everyone being sucked out: MYTH

Because the cabin is so highly pressurised, if the emergency door were opened, many people would be sucked out of the plane. But because the cabin is so highly pressurised opening the doors when the plane is at cruising altitude is nearly impossible.

Airline pilot Patrick Smith writes: 'You cannot – repeat, cannot – open the doors or emergency hatches of an aeroplane in flight. You can't open them for the simple reason that cabin pressure won't allow it.'



8. Lightning strikes cause plane crashes: MYTH

Lightning strikes a commercial plane approximately once a year, but an aeroplane has not been downed by lightning since 1967. Planes have to pass safety tests that mean if they are struck by lightning the current flows through the exterior of the plane to another extremity point.



9. You get drunk more quickly on a plane: MYTH

This myth has been tried and tested and there is nothing scientific to support the idea that you get drunk faster when you're at a cruising altitude. Perhaps this myth has more to do with the supply of free booze than cabin pressure.



10. Smoking is banned on toilets but the toilets are fitted with ashtrays anyway: FACT

Despite the fact that smoking on planes has been banned for over a decade, aircraft are obliged to provide ashtrays so that if if a smoker succumbs to temptation, they can dispose of their cigarette butt safely.







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