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YouTube // gehtdoch75

7 Delightfully Retro Airplane Safety Videos

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YouTube // gehtdoch75

These days, airplane safety videos are filled with jokes, hidden cameos, and similar techniques to encourage passengers to pay attention. A few decades ago? Not so much. In the good old days, airplane safety videos were so quiet and soothing that they could put a typical passenger to sleep...and that was okay, provided he or she wasn't currently smoking.

Here are some of the best retro airplane safety videos around. Please secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others; you may need supplemental oxygen to get through all of these.

1. Pan Am Airbus A300, 1998

Here's a video from a defunct airline, for a plane that is no longer produced, though many are still in service. Things to watch for: smooth soundtrack; smoking on the flight (including when the oxygen masks deploy!); and mustaches galore.

See also: If You Can't Smoke On Planes, Why Are There Still Ashtrays?

2. TWA Lockheed L-1011 TriStar, Circa 1980

Watch for: The smoking section, jumping out onto the inflatable slide rafts, and "A slight burning odor may be detected while oxygen is in use. This is normal." Good to know. Note: This video doesn't come with a date; it's possible that it was recorded as early as the 1970s (the L-1011 dates from 1972), but my best guess puts it somewhere around 1980.

3. Hawaiian Airlines DC-10, Circa 1998

Another undated video, but I'm guessing late 1990s based on the portable CD player, laptop, and Motorola cell phone. Another telltale sign: bad 3D animation.

4. Finnair MD-11, Circa 2000

This is what it would look like if David Lynch directed an airplane safety video.

5. Lufthansa Airbus A300, Circa Mid 1980s

The German/English presentation and soundtrack are excellent; the smoking, fashion, and robotic flight attendants? Not so much.

6. Tower Air Boeing 747, Circa Late 1980s

Tower Air went out of business in 2000. But the flight attendant giving us his best "Blue Steel" at 0:57 will always be with us.

7. Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-400, 1994

"This is a smoking flight!" Shoulder pads! Giant cell phones! Slow-motion oxygen mask drop! Welcome back to 1994, people!

Endless Airplane Safety Videos

If this is your jam, behold The Ultimate In-Flight Safety Video Collection, which is just what it claims to be.

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Big Questions
When Flying, Why is Taking Off More Dangerous Than Landing?
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Why is taking off more dangerous than landing?

Tom Farrier:

Landing is generally considered quite a bit more hazardous (and requires a bit more exacting handling), but both takeoffs and landings can have their challenges. Still, aircraft like to fly; sometimes it can be a little tricky to encourage them to stop doing so at the end of a flight, especially in the presence of unpredictable winds or slippery runways.

This is a graphic from my favorite go-to reference on commercial aircraft accidents, updated annually by Boeing but including all airliner accidents:

The shaded area under the aircraft silhouette shows the amount of time an aircraft spends in each “phase of flight.” At the top, there are two numbers worth looking at carefully. Final approach and landing is when 48 percent—essentially half—of all fatal accidents that have occurred from 1959 through 2016. By contrast, taking off and starting to climb is only about a quarter as hazardous (13 percent). These ratios used to be somewhat different; takeoffs used to see their share of accidents a lot more frequently than today.

The biggest challenge with taking off in the early days of jet airliners was the rate at which they could accelerate during their takeoff roll. Often, a lot of time was required between when the aircraft passed the speed at which the pilots were committed to taking off (V1) and when the jet actually could get into the air with a positive rate of climb. When an emergency would suddenly present itself in that window of vulnerability, sometimes there were no good options, and sometimes the pilots picked the wrong one.

One of the biggest ways pilots (and flight engineers in aircraft that use them) have to earn their paychecks is when something bad happens during a takeoff roll and they have to decide whether to continue the takeoff and deal with the problem in the air, or if the situation is critical enough that it’d be preferable to wrestle the fuel-laden beast on the ground and risk going off the end of the runway.

To try to address the need for added clarity in such situations, some of these early accidents led to recognition of the need for establishing a second speed benchmark (V2), which is the point at which the aircraft is going fast enough to make a successful takeoff with one engine out. Bear in mind that a lot of the biggest early jets had four engines, none of which was nearly as powerful as the current generation (some actually used water injection systems to boost their thrust during takeoff), and which suffered failures a lot more often.

“Rejected takeoffs” are pretty rare occurrences these days, and airport design has gotten better at minimizing the consequences of an aircraft running off the end of a runway if circumstances conspire to make things exciting for its inhabitants. For example, "engineered material arresting systems” are basically long slabs of pavement designed to collapse under the weight of an aircraft, grabbing hold of it and bringing it to a fairly enthusiastic stop.

This may not sound desirable, but some of the places EMAS has been installed (including Boston’s Logan and New York’s LaGuardia Airports) have seen more than their share of aircraft in trouble winding up in bodies of water during what are euphemistically (but accurately) referred to as “runway excursions.”

Such departures can happen either during takeoff or landing emergencies, and it’s nice to know that the chances of surviving both have been improved significantly with one ingenious invention.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

When Chuck Yeager Tweeted Details About His Historic, Sound Barrier-Breaking Flight

Seventy years ago today—on October 14, 1947—Charles Elwood Yeager became the first person to travel faster than the speed of sound. The Air Force pilot broke the sound barrier in an experimental X-1 rocket plane (nicknamed “Glamorous Glennis”) over a California dry lake at an altitude of 25,000 feet.

In 2015, the nonagenarian posted a few details on Twitter surrounding the anniversary of the achievement, giving amazing insight into the history-making flight.

For even more on the historic ride, check out the video below.


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