With Guests frequently seeking clarification on a variety of issues that concerns them while flying, Captain Lim Khoy Hing lists down the top 10 frequently asked questions and their respective answers.
A: This is done for safety reasons. In the event of an emergency evacuation, your eyes need to be fully adapted to the night light so that you can safely jump out of the plane onto the slides. In an emergency, every single second counts.
You can appreciate this if you enter a pitch black room from a lighted room – you won’t be able to see anything for a while.
Q: WHY CAN’T I USE MY CELL PHONE DURING A FLIGHT?
A: Cell phones have the potential to interfere with the avionics equipment on board the aircraft. Many airlines prohibit the use of cell phones at all times on board
If you think it is harmless and try to use it surreptitiously in the air, think again. Have you received a call on your cell phone whilst driving in your car with the radio on? If yes, you would have heard the static just as the phone rings. Such electronic signals can jeopardise a flight by interfering with onboard functions.
This doesn’t mean that the use of the cell phone would always lead to serious consequences in the air. But incidents can happen when there is a combination of many unknown factors that can interfere with the electronic system in
Once the plane is in the air above 10,000 feet, some airlines may allow cell phones to be used provided the plane has been fitted with the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) onboard. If this facility is available, users can make calls, send and receive text messages and access the Internet on their Smartphones.
Q: WILL I BE SUCKED OUT OF THE PLANE IF SOMEONE OPENS THE EXIT DOOR DURING A FLIGHT?
A: This is extremely unlikely unless there is a major explosion with a gaping hole in the cabin and the passenger is unstrapped.
As for the doors, they cannot be opened once an airplane is airborne and pressurised. This is because the air pressure inside the plane is greater than the pressure outside and this makes it impossible to open the door.
The door can only be opened after the plane touches down because the plane is automatically programmed to depressurise the cabin when at the ground level.
A: Lightning is not exactly dangerous to airplanes. Even if there is a direct strike, it would not penetrate the cabin, affect the engines or the fuel tanks. When an airplane is struck by lightning, the electrical charges simply travel the length of the aircraft and exit harmlessly through the antenna-like rods at the trailing edges of the flaps or, tail of a plane such as the Airbus.
The strike, however, may cause some burn marks on the fuselage skin at the point of impact. The pilot would normally be aware of such a strike and report this incident to the engineers after landing for further inspection and rectification if necessary.
Q: IS TURBULENCE DANGEROUS AND CAN IT SNAP OFF THE WINGS OF A PLANE?
A: On long haul flights, unfortunately, it is almost impossible to avoid turbulence. While pilots try their best to steer clear of the conditions that cause turbulence by deviating off the route, climbing or descending, there are times when they still get caught in normal turbulence that’s not easily observable.
Turbulence is classified into four types:
• Light turbulence manifests as slight and rapid bumpiness.
• Moderate turbulence manifests as light chops with greater intensity and with more rapid bumps.
• A severe one causes passengers to feel some force against their seat belts and unsecured objects would be tossed about.
• Extreme turbulence that can cause damage.
During turbulence, if you look outside the window, you might see the wings flexing a little and the engine shaking slightly on the pylon. Do not be alarmed, as they are designed to do so and the wings would not actually snap off and nor would the engines drop off!
Please note that a pilot can fly safely through turbulence. It is generally an issue of discomfort rather than safety, as long as you have your seat belts fastened.
Can a plane wing break off? Not in the normal range turbulence that the plane is designed to withstand but only in the most extreme cases where enough force is applied. The wings of a plane are incredibly strong and it is unlikely for a plane to be caught in such extreme turbulence.