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11 Amazing Reader-Submitted Air Travel Facts

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Last month, while Jason was flying home from Chicago, he asked readers to submit their most amazing facts related to air travel.

We've combed through the submissions, fact-checked our favorites, and picked 11 winners. The winners will be contacted via e-mail so they can receive the mental_floss T-shirts of their choice.

And the winners are...

Amy Gardner McNeal:

Seventy-five thousand engineering drawings were used to produce the first Boeing 747.

Ken:

The song YYZ by Rush is named after the airport identification code for Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They chose that code because seeing it on their airline tags means they are finally coming home after months upon months on tour.

Dina:

In 1987, American Airlines eliminated one olive from each salad served in first class. This saved them $40,000.

Heather:

According to U.S. News & World Report, the longest commercial flight by duration is Los Angeles to Singapore on Singapore Airlines. It clocks in at 18 hours and 30 minutes and takes more time than the Newark-Singapore flight which is 800 miles longer but saves time by going over the north pole and experiencing less wind resistance.

Jenn:

Niek Vermeulen has the world's largest collection of airsickness bags (6,016).

Devdoggy:

Gliding was an exhibition in Berlin at the Olympics in 1936, and it was planned to be an Olympic sport in the next Olympics.

Tim:

Dallas's [DFW] airport is bigger than the island of Manhattan.

Moniker:

Little known fact, Penn Jillette, of Penn & Teller, was the first person to ride / float [the famous "Vomit Comet" anti-gravity flight] completely nude. Also joining him that day for the ride was Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top.

Competitivesleeper:

Vesna Vulovic holds the world record for surviving the highest fall. She was a flight attendant who was in a plane that was bombed at over 30,000 feet. Although severely injured she was the only survivor.

Teresak33:

As a ginger I'm thrilled to report there is an airport in Ebro Florida named Redhead Airport.

Steven:

To fly from Chicago O'Hare to Chicago Midway, you have to make a connecting flight and use at least two airlines. The shortest route is O'Hare-Milwaukee-Midway.

Congratulations, everyone! Go check out our t-shirt collection here.

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NASA
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Space
NASA Could Send Your Tweet Into Deep Space
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NASA

The inventors of Twitter could never have imagined how their creation would change the world. The social media platform has become the stage upon which some of the most important dramas—and pettiest comedies—of the last few years have played out. And now it'll help beam one lucky person's message into interstellar space, thanks to NASA's #MessageToVoyager contest.

The Voyager 2 and Voyager 1 spacecrafts launched on August 20 and September 5, of 1977. The probes set sail in opposite directions, bound for the outer reaches of space, each bearing a golden record imprinted with messages of peace and welcome from Earth to whomever else the spacecraft might encounter along the way.

The decades since have seen years of astonishing firsts from the two little probes. Voyager 2 has cruised past and sent back images from Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Just five years ago, Voyager 1 became the first craft to enter interstellar space.

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the missions, NASA wants to give the people of Earth the opportunity to send a new message. The agency will transmit the single winning tweet into the area of deep space Voyager 1 now occupies.

To participate, compose a message of up to 60 characters. That includes letters, numbers, spaces, and punctuation. Tag your submission with #MessageToVoyager and post it to Twitter by August 15. You can also share it on Instagram, Facebook, Google+, or Tumblr.

Representatives from NASA, JPL, and the Voyager team will narrow down the entries, and then hold a public vote for the winner.

For full contest rules, check out NASA's #MessageToVoyager website.

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Airbnb
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You Could Be One of the First People to See the Upcoming Solar Eclipse With New Airbnb Contest
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Airbnb

Airbnb is going to help two lucky people become some of the first in the nation to see the cross-continental total solar eclipse when it journeys across the U.S. on August 21. As Travel + Leisure reports, the company is holding a contest to send two guests on a deluxe eclipse-viewing mini-vacation in Oregon.

First, the winner and their guest will head to Bend, Oregon on August 20 to stay in a geodesic dome under the stars, looking up at the night sky from the observation deck with multiple telescopes, according to the press release. They’ll hang out and chat about the stars with with astrophysicist Jedidah Isler, who studies black holes, and learn how to shoot great nighttime photos with Babak Tafreshi, a National Geographic photographer.

An interior view of the Airbnb geodesic dome.
Airbnb

The next day, Isler will accompany the winners on a private jet for a two-hour flight over the Pacific Ocean. The plane will fly along the path of totality, potentially extending the amount of time the guests have to view the Moon completely covering the Sun by up to a minute compared to what people will see from the ground.

Even if you don’t win, plenty of people are trekking out to the path of totality, and you can probably find another place to crash. Airbnb estimates that it has around 3800 listed houses along the path of totality. (This one in Oregon is going for $10,000 a night that weekend.) But you might have more trouble finding a private plane to fly you to a viewing spot atop the clouds. The next total solar eclipse won't be visible from the U.S. until 2024, so this is your last chance for a while.

You have until August 10 to send Airbnb your best argument for why you should get to go on a great eclipse adventure.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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