Category: Air

You Can Fly Stunt Planes In Las Vegas: A Review Of Sky Combat Ace

Las Vegas is a city of experiences and if flying in the highest performance-certified aerobatic aircraft is your type of adventure, then you need to plan a visit to Sky Combat Ace. There’s a lot more in the video above but in short, imagine being flown in a stunt plane by a former jet fighter pilot, flipping and doing tricks for 15-20 minutes. Or playing laser tag with your friends as you fly an Extra 330 in a virtual dog-fight. Those are some of the types of rides you can choose, starting at $300. The Sky Combat Ace website describes their adventures as intense roller-coasters but let me tell you, there’s no comparison.

There are a few ways to save on the price, plus the complete review and other Sky Combat Ace tips, in my video Flying Stunt Planes in Las Vegas.

20 Random Facts About Traveling In Airplanes

This post is part of Geek Takeover Week 2018.

air travel facts

Over the years, I’ve covered a lot of about air travel here, from surviving plane crashes to letting you know how terrible United’s business class is. But this is Geek Takeover Week so I wanted to take some of the more interesting and obscure facts sprinkled throughout thousands of posts, boil them down, and offer a highly concentrated dose you can shoot right into your neurons.

These are 20 random facts you might not have know about traveling by plane.

1. Fear of flying is called aerophobia.

2. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States limits commercial airline pilots to 1,000 hours of flight time per year.

3. 76% of people involved in plane crashes survive.

4. This is what those marshaling signals mean:

marshalling signals air travel

5. There are secret seats on planes you can reserve.

6. The average passenger plane angles up 12.5 degrees during takeoff.

7. Commercial flights often begin their descent 90 minutes prior to reaching their destination.

8. During an average 8 hour flight, time dilation causes you to be .0000003 seconds in the future compared to people on the ground.

9. 80% of plane crashes occur during the first 3 minutes and last 8 minutes of a flight.

10. The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner’s engines are powerful enough to allow it to fly straight up.

11. Frequent flyers have about a 1 in 20,000 chance of dying in a plane crash.

12. Germans are the most internationally traveled people in the world.

13. A trip across the Atlantic Ocean is 9,000 times safer than it was in 1918.

14. People who survive the initial impact of a plane crash, yet still lose their lives, do so because they try to take their carry-on luggage with them.

15. Sitting any further away than 5 rows from any exit row greatly reduces your chances of surviving a plane crash.

16. People taking flights of 4 hours or more are more than 3 times likely to develop deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

17. The FAA has a tool you can use to calculate how much ionizing radiation you’re exposed to on a given flight.

18. Layovers shorter than 24 hours don’t count as an extra stop on a plane ticket.

19. The busiest airport in the world is Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta.

20. Passenger planes bank a maximum of about 30 degrees during a turn.

  • And here’s a bonus fact for you: on average, there are roughly 500,000 people in the sky, traveling in planes, at any given time!

The list goes on in the posts linked above if you want to learn more details. For even more knowledge, here’s 8 peculiar facts about Moldova, things you probably didn’t know about Egypt’s pyramids, and 10 (surprisingly) interesting facts about Porto’s bridges.

How Much Does The Average Passenger Plane Angle Up During Take Off?

This post is part of Geek Takeover Week 2018.

madrid airport

You might have wondered as the wheels of the jumbo jet you’re in gently leave the ground how high up the nose of your plane is angled up. What feels like a fairly mild angle when you’re inside the plane looks like a mild airshow stunt when you’re watching from the ground, so, how much does a typical passenger plane angle up during take off?

Caveats Away

Let’s start but clarifying the answer is a detailed, “it depends.” Details, by pilot standards, are important, as in i.e. not crashing. For our purposes though, we can generalize. Your plane’s angle going up (called the “angle of attack”) varies by the size of the plane, engine power, wind, and load on the aircraft. Those are some of the physical considerations but then there are also practical ones. Airport traffic is one example; and the reason flights often begin descent 320 kilometers (200 miles) from their destination.

sky combat ace

Angle At A Time

Planes slowly angle up during take off at about 2-3 degrees per second for a Boeing 747. A bit of quick math and using the same Boeing 747 as an example, the average passenger plane has a maximum take off angle of about 10-15 degrees. That’s well within the plane’s tolerances of course. (The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner can go almost straight up.) Much like the 30 degree turns most jumbo jets max out at though, angles are kept moderate to make you feel most comfortable, save on fuel, and be as safe as possible.

Nothing More Than Feelings

The angle of attack will feel more pronounced depending on where you’re sitting in the plane. Up in business class on a larger airplane gives you the sensation of a steeper angle, closer to the wings and it will feel less pronounced. Though now you’ll know really what that angle is, giving you more time to calculate time dilation from traveling so fast and far from Earth. For (still) nervous flyers, these 7 plane crash facts might make you feel better. Or not.

Road Tested! Is The DJI Mavic Pro Still Worth Buying In 2018?

Since it was introduced in last 2016, the market has shifted DJI’s Mavic Pro from tiny drone to a middle of the pack device. The release of the DJI Spark and more recently Mavic Air are a sign of things to come, yet the Mavic Pro still has superior battery life and video quality. So, is the DJI Mavic Pro still worth buying in 2018?

dji mavic  DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo: Foldable Propeller Quadcopter Drone

amazon button

After 18 months, a few crashes, and over a hundred of hours of flight time, I answer that question in the video above.

Kayak Explore Lets You See How Much It Costs To Fly From Home To Anywhere

kayak explore

Most airfare search engines work around the assumption that you know where you want to go and are looking for the best price to fly there. Kayak Explore let’s you do something much more fun: see how much it costs to fly to cities around the world from where you are.

Pick A Destination Based On Price

Several years ago airfare aggregator Kayak quietly rolled out Kayak Explore, one of the best travel search engines that’s useful for travel planning, particularly if you aren’t quite sure where you want your next trip to be. The concept is pretty simple, you enter in a home city and time frame for a trip, then see a world map of prices for airfare to cities worldwide.

Kayak Explore also has several options for refining the airfare shown, like season (e.g. fall 2018) or exact dates, maximum price, as well as duration. You can also specify whether or not you want prices for direct flights only.

Find New Hubs

Zooming in or scrolling around let’s you see airfare to essentially everywhere, giving you an idea of the costs to travel to places you may not have considered. Another big benefit of Kayak Explore – if you’re willing to put in the time – is it reveals new hubs and connecting cities you can use to get cheap multi-city flights.

amman stadium

Say, for example, you want to visit the ancient city of Petra and find a flight from Washington DC to Amman, Jordan for $800. The DC to Amman flight connects through Frankfurt. However, booking a flight to Frankfurt separately, then to Amman (no need to leave the airport) might actually cost less. Alternatively, Kayak Explore could show a $250 flight to Copenhagen from Washington DC. Afterward, you plug in Copenhagen as your home city, then notice a flight to Amman from there is $250. Now you can fly to Jordan for $500, rather than the original $800 price.

The reason the example above works is because airlines often don’t show you all of the connecting city possibilities and use the framing effect to trick you. They tend to offer up efficient, well-flown routes that aren’t necessarily the least expensive. Airlines only cross over with partner airlines as well; booking multi-city flights on your own gets you around such limitations.

What You Might Not Be Looking For

Even if you don’t intend to do any in-depth travel planning, Kayak Explore can give you ideas. Cheap airfare could entice you to take a closer look at a country or city you wouldn’t have considered otherwise. Kayak Explore is a tool I use often, particularly for multi-city trips but one so simple, I nearly neglected to write a dedicated post about it.

It’s one of the best ways to search for cheap flights and get from your desk to all the places you want to travel. Remember though, even if Kayak Explore isn’t helping, you can stop chasing cheap flights to really save money on your next vacation.

Should You Pay For Mileage Boosters When Buying Airplane Tickets?

airport lufthansa

You’ve probably noticed during self-check-in or when booking tickets, some airlines offer an option to purchase an extra 1,000 or more frequent flyer miles to add to your flight. These mileage “boosters” are supposed to give you a few extra frequent flyer miles at a discount, making you wonder if the cost is worth the reward.

Those of you who collect frequent flyer miles know that they’re a good way to get free flights and other perks but mileage boosting in most cases isn’t money well spent.

What Are Mileage Boosters?

More common in the United States, the trend is spreading to other airlines around the world. Basically, mileage boosters are discounted miles, made available only as an add-on purchase to an existing flight. The idea is that you’ll be able to earn extra frequent flyer miles for a given flight without paying full price for them.

Unfortunately, discounted or not, buying miles is almost never a good deal because the equivalent monetary value in airfare is going to be cheaper.

Adding Up The Numbers

Frequent flyer programs are intentionally vague since airlines want you to disassociate miles with money. Let’s use United as an example (here’s why you should sign up for their mileage program even if you don’t fly United.) They frequently offer 1,000 mile boosters for $35.

A free round-trip flight from, say, North America to Europe, is around 50,000 miles with United on Star Alliance. At $35 per 1000 miles, to get a free flight would cost $2,100 in boosters. Going to United’s website and purchasing 50,000 miles directly costs $1750 – chances are in either case you’ll find airfare for a North America to Europe round trip flight to be half as much.

Additionally, mileage boosters don’t count toward the premier or status miles on United, Delta, and other airlines. In other words, frequent flyer programs have status levels (more miles more status) that give you lounge access (here are the wifi passwords), free upgrades, or other perks but not all miles are counted equally. Some are “special” miles that add to your total status, others like the “boosters” don’t count.

Stick To Flights

Frequent flyer hackers will tell you, if you’re going to buy miles, it’s best to go through some third-party promotion. Otherwise, accumulate your miles in one place like this, wisely use reward cards, or earn frequent flyer miles without getting any credit cards.

In general, refrain from buying miles and earn them the best way – by traveling more – and keep this habit every time you fly so you’re credited the miles you’re due. The airlines have a tendency not to be incredibly diligent in adding miles after a flight and not getting miles you’ve earned is an even bigger waste than a mileage booster.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutI'm the blogger and computer security engineer who writes foXnoMad while on a journey to visit every country in the world. I'll show you the tips, tricks, and tech you can use to travel smarter. Read More


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