Sunday, March 8, 2009

enRoute February's questions

Q: What are your favourite airports to fly in and out of, and why?
I’ve flown into the world’s ten busiest airports. Vancouver has to be at the top of my list of Canadian airports for its stunning scenery. At night, Las Vegas takes the cake because of its brightly lit downtown district. But to see the Eiffel Tower or Windsor Castle from an airplane and to land on the man-made island in Osaka really make me appreciate my bird’s-eye view.

Q: Do airliners have keys, and if so, do pilots have spares?
Keys are not used to start airliners’ engines; only smaller airplanes, like a Cessna, require a key for start-up. With large passenger aircraft, we go through a procedure whereby the engines are started by switches and levers. Compressed air, supplied by the APU (auxiliary power unit), is used to start the engine turbines spinning. That hissing sound you hear during board­ing is the APU. You may also notice the ventilation system is momentarily turned off as the APU air starts the engines.