Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationAircraft · 10 years ago

Several questions about airplane safety, including the risk of terrorism?

1) Is glare from sunlight ever a problem for pilots during flight?

2) When would in flight thrust reversers be deployed involuntarily? Why can it lead to a crash?

3) What is the most common cause for a missed approach?

4) What is the control wheel steering autopilot mode? Is this the autopilot mode that makes the plane most vulnerable to crash?

5) Is the inertial navigation system the most common navigation system on passenger planes?

6) Are there any weather phenomenon that can suddenly form FASTER than a microburst? Are all microbursts able to be detected by modern day instruments?

7) Are flight attendants given codes to unlock the cockpit door? If so, what is a flight attendant is secretly a terrorist with no criminal record?

8) Do airports in African countries, which obviously don't care or have the resources to do much about safety measures, have X-ray machines for baggage?

9) Can the Central Aural Warning System be turned off? What impact on other instrumentation would occur if the P-40 circuit breaker is faulty?

10) Can pilots get served alcoholic drinks? What if a pilot is really insistent and the flight attendant relents?

11) Is there any possibility of malware infecting either the avionics on board the plane or the computers in air traffic control?


There are crashes every year, so statistics are meaningless considering I'm not the one in control of the airplane.

Update 2:

How many gallons of beer does pilsner man drink while flying?

3 Answers

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    1) It can be, especially to a VFR (visual flight rules) pilot who isn't on ATC radar or being given traffic advisories. For IFR (instrument flight rules) pilots, including all commercial airline traffic, we have the option of simply not looking out the window if the glare is bad enough. Sun glare is the worst when it reflects off water, and if you're on an approach with a lake or river off the approach end of the runway, it can be a real nuissance. Never heard of it causing an accident though.

    2) Deployment in flight usually leads to drastic consequences. They have deployed involuntarily due to malfunction, probably due to an unlocked reverser. Think about it... you suddenly lose all forward thrust and are now decelerating. Usually what happens is a stall, or a loss of control especially if only one reverser deploys.

    3) Weather minimums for the particular airport and/or runway lower than what is allowed. E.g. if the pilot loses the minimum visibility of say 1/4 mile down the runway, he executes the MAP.

    4) This was found on older autopilots and most pilots I know never used it. It's a button that temporarily disconnects the AP so you can manually steer the plane on a course correction. Autopilots now can be overridden by regular control column inputs OR by simply pressing a heading hold or heading select button, whereby the AP steers the plane to a new heading. CWS is thus a useless button. I see no reason why it would lead to a crash.

    5) Good is indeed a VERY common piece of equipment, though not any more common than an ILS receiver. The nice thing about inertial nav (which dates back to the 1950s) is that it is self-contained and doesn't need to rely on continuous ground-based radio signals to establish a position fix. Modern INS is composed of laser gyros that simulate spinning gyros, rather than mechanical gyros. They were typically found on long range aircraft that would fly over vast expanses such as the ocean, but are on just about all newer airplanes now.

    6) FORM or encountered? Wind shear and turbulence, (though a microburst is really a type of wind shear formed by convective updrafts/downdraft), can come out of nowhere, and cannot always be predicted. My guess would be that they aren't always detectable. Not all airports have it. One of the fastest deteriorating weather phenomenon in my experience has been simple cloud cover and visibility due to rapidly lowering temperature and pressure, like you would expect with a passing front. Not necessarily dangerous, but when it happens you find yourself reviewing your approach plates well in advance and planning contingencies such as diverting to your alternate or shooting a missed.

    7) That's a question for airline pilots. I'm a corporate pilot. But I'll wager the answer is hell no. And I believe it's even a regulation now that prohibits ANYONE from getting in. There's only one way to open the door...from the inside or with a crash axe.

    8) At HECA (Cairo Int'l) they sure do. Don't know about the rest of Africa.

    9) Most aural warnings can be silenced. Your question regarding a P-40's CB makes no sense.

    10) Absolutely no freaking way.

    11) Possible? I guess...if a disgruntled pilot or controller wanted to team up with a software engineer. But you'd have to know about the microarchitecture of the particular computer...which is a lot different than Windows or a desktop computer. A flight management system is nothing more than a "dumb terminal" with probably nothing fancier than an 8 bit operating system, and some memory to hold the navigation database. You'd have to write a virus that interacted just right. A Honeywell software engineer could figure it out, but not some punk hacker.

    Statistics show that most crashes today are caused not by mechanical errors, but by human factors. "Pilot error" is often confused meaning the pilot did something really dumb and forgot how to fly the airplane safely. This happens from time to time among private pilots of small planes, but when it happens with professional pilots and large planes, it's a much more complicated issue. It's usually attributed to a breakdown in communication somewhere in the system....between the pilots, ATC, dispatch, passengers and flight attendants, or ground service crew.

  • 10 years ago

    dam man its a flight you'll be okay u have a worse chance of being on the ground than up in the air

  • 10 years ago

    Apparently, you are not the one in control of your own mind either.


    I usually have at least 3 beers before I fly.

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