11 Amazing Reader-Submitted Air Travel Facts

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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Scandal! 12 Camels Were Disqualified from a Saudi Arabia Beauty Contest Over Botox Allegations
FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images
FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia’s central Riyadh Region has been roiled by an animal show scandal straight from a Christopher Guest film. As NPR reports, around a dozen camels were disqualified from a beauty contest at the annual King Abdulaziz Camel Festival because their handlers illegally plumped their features with Botox injections.

The month-long Camel Festival in Al Dhana, Saudi Arabia, runs through February 1, 2018, and features around 30,000 camels. The animals participate in races, an obedience competition, and a beauty contest. Nearly $57 million in prize money rides on these high-stakes events, and owners preen their prized steeds accordingly with massages, hairspray, and—as it turns out—banned cosmetic surgery procedures, according to The Telegraph.

Camels in the ungulate pageant are judged on whether they have long necks, enlarged lips and noses, a big head, and defined humps. The criteria evidently drove some owners to desperate measures: Shortly before the Camel Festival kicked off, officials discovered that a vet had been injecting some participating camels with botulism.

The vet is receiving heat, but he’s by no means the only competitor to use illegal tactics, according to United Arab Emirates-based newspaper The National. In addition to Botox injections and collagen fillers, some sneaky handlers darken their animals’ coats with oil, rely on hormone injections for enhanced muscularity, and stretch the camels' lips by hand to elongate their appearance. And while large facial features are considered desirable, large lobes aren’t, so the guilty vet’s humped charges also received ear reductions.

Officials can ban enhanced camels from entering future beauty competitions, and owners can face possible legal recourse for violating animal welfare laws. Some breeders have called for cheaters to face stronger punishments, like a fine, which is already applied to drug-enhanced racing camels. As for now, the 12 camels who went under the needle are now under the microscope.

[h/t NPR]

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LEGO Wants to Turn Your Space-Themed Design Into a New Set
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LEGO wants to turn your out-of-this-world brick design into a reality as part of a new contest calling for space exploration-themed concepts. The winning entry in the LEGO Moments in Space competition will be transformed into a real-life LEGO set that the company will give away as a promotional "gift with purchase" product.

As part of the contest, LEGO is inviting designers ages 13 and up to create what the company describes as “the ultimate space model." The design can be realistic or based on science fiction, as long as it follows a few important guidelines. The final assembled product must be made from around 300 basic pieces, and it can't be too big. It has to be able to fit on a 16-stud-by-16-stud LEGO baseplate inside one of the smaller LEGO boxes. The designs can feature stickers, but they have to be decals from old LEGO sets.

Participants can submit entries for the “LEGO Moments in Space” contest either in the form of digital renderings or photos of real-life projects through February 9, 2018. Fans can vote for the top 25 builds on the LEGO Ideas site, and then a special panel will select the grand-prize winner and 10 runner-ups. The results will be revealed to the public on March 2, 2018.

The winner will not only have the opportunity to see their design made into a real product in 2019, but will also receive a $250 online LEGO shopping spree and a curated collection of LEGO's previous "gift with purchase" sets. Get more information about entering the contest on the LEGO Ideas website.

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