Background

Aviation factfile

 •   In 1799, English aviator George Cayley (1773–1857) built the first glider that could go short distances. His early work helped inventors understand the dynamics of flight, and the

•    Wright Brothers acknowledged his importance. Thus he is named the Father of Aviation.

•    The oldest airline still operating under the same name is Dutch airline KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. It was founded the year 1919, just after the first world war. KLM means Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij.

•    The windows in an airport control tower must be tilted out at exactly fifteen degrees from the vertical to to decrease reflections from both inside and outside the tower.

•    On a three hour flight the human body can lose up to 1.5 quarts of water. Failing to drink water could cause cabin dehydration so crews carry gallon-size jugs of spring water with them.

•    Wings keep an airplane up in the air, but the four forces of flight – lift, thrust, drag and weight are what make this happen. They push a plane up, down, forward, or slow it down.

•    Air turbulence is a normal occurrence in aviation so pilots are trained to respond each time they encounter such. Airlines have “rough air” speed rules instructing pilots to slow down in these conditions and some have autopilot modes to properly respond in this situation.

•    Runways are named by a number between 01 and 36 correlates to the degrees on the compass. Runway number 9 points east (900), 18 points south (1800), 27 points west (2700) and 36 points to the north (3600).

•    The international language of flight is English so commercial pilots who fly on international flights and the flight controllers who the pilots talk to are required to be able to speak English.

•    Most pilots and copilots on major airlines are not allowed to eat the same food to avoid the possibility of food poisoning or spreading sickness to the entire flight crew.

•    The world’s fastest airplane is the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, flying at 2,193 miles per hour. It has held the record for nearly 40 years.

•    Black-box is a device known as the flight recorder, which is placed in an aircraft for the purpose of recording flight details and facilitating the investigation of aviation accidents. A black-box may be of any color (mostly orange)

ALPHABET

The Nato Phonetic Alphabet, also sometimes referred to as Alpha Bravo Charlie is actually officially called the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) created code words that it connected to the letters of the English alphabet.

Pilots pronounce numbers similar to regular English, with a few exceptions: The number three (3) is pronounced “tree.” The number five (5) is pronounced “fife.” The number nine (9) is pronounced “niner.”

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Listening  practice

Preflight Checklist

The preflight checklist is a list of tasks that should be performed by pilots and aircrew prior to takeoff. Its purpose is to improve flight safety by ensuring that no important tasks are forgotten. Failure to correctly conduct a preflight check using a checklist is a major contributing factor to aircraft accidents.

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An Air Malta crewman performing a pre-flight inspection of an Airbus A320.

Aviation safety is the study and practice of managing risks in aviation. This includes preventing aviation accidents and incidents through research, educating air travel personnel, passengers and the general public, as well as the design of aircraft and aviation infrastructure. The aviation industry is subject to significant regulation and oversight.

Aviation security is focused on protecting air travelers, aircraft and infrastructure from intentional harm or disruption, rather than unintentional mishaps.

Security

Another aspect of safety is protection from intentional harm or property damage, also known as security.

International Flight

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An international flight is a form of commercial flight within civil aviation where the departure and the arrival take place in different countries.

An important difference between international and domestic flights is that, before boarding the aircraft, passengers must undergo migration formalities and, when arriving to the destination airport, they must undergo both immigration and customs formalities, unless both the departure and arrival countries are members of the same free travel area.

Airports serving international flights are known as international airports.

A customs officer in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol checks the luggage of an incoming traveler.

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Activity

WHAT IS AN ICAO CODE?

Watch this video to find out the answer.

Domestic Flight

A domestic flight is a form of commercial flight within civil aviation where the departure and the arrival take place in the same country.

Domestic flights are generally cheaper and shorter than most international flights.

A non-stop flight is a flight by an aircraft with no intermediate stops.

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