Q: Some airplanes leave a contrail and some do not. Why is this?
Contrails, or condensation trails, are water vapour spewed from the jet engine’s exhaust. Because of frigid outside temperatures, about -57 degrees Celsius, this moisture immediately freezes, forming ice crystals. Sometimes the air is very dry, so these contrails evaporate quickly. However, when the air is moist – typically when a weather system is moving in – these contrails take much longer to disperse and can actually be a precursor to changes in the weather.
Q: Why are aircraft windows so small?
Windows are built small and round to withstand the frequent cycles of pressurization. A round window withstands pressure better than a square one. Yet windows in general are getting much bigger on airliners and private jets thanks to state-of-the-art materials and new manufacturing techniques. But wait until the Boeing 787 Dreamliner shows up in a couple of years! The windows will be 65 percent larger than industry standard. Plus, they will darken at the push of a button, making window shades passé!
Q: How are flight numbers derived?
Nearly 700 daily flight numbers get airborne! The first digit generally dictates the destination: 0 is for flights to Asia and South America, 1 represents a Canadian transcontinental flight, 2 is for Western Canada flights, 3 generally designates flights to the U.S. East Coast, 4 is Rapidair® service, 5 is for flights to the U.S. Midwest and West Coast, 6 is for flights to Canada’s East Coast, 7 is for LaGuardia and the U.S. West Coast, 8 is for European flights, while 9 is mainly for Florida and Caribbean flights. Flights south and east end in an even number, and west and north flights have an odd number.
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