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5 Facts About Pilots That Passengers Don’t Want to Know

Pilots get some sleep in the cockpit during flights

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Pilots also need to catch some naps during flight and it’s called Controlled Rest on the Flight Deck. This is done during cruise where the work load is lightest and allows pilots to take short naps one at a time. This is done to promote higher levels of alertness during approach, takeoffs, and landings where the workload is greater.

Note that controlled rest is limited between 10 and 40 minutes and which pilot takes the first rest is discussed and agreed upon by the pilots.

Oxygen masks do not carry as much oxygen as you would expect

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Oxygen masks in commercial airplanes have only about 12–15 minutes worth of oxygen, which it turned out isn’t oxygen per se. The panel above the oxygen masks contains a mixture of chemicals when burned, releases oxygen. Tugging on the oxygen mask as demonstrated during in flight safety briefing/demonstration will precipitate this process. The oxygen released by these chemicals will last between 12 and 15 minutes, which is just enough time for the flight crew to descend at an altitude of less than 10,000 feet where passengers can breathe more easily.

There is an ax behind the captain’s seat in the cockpit

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Civil Air Laws require commercial aircraft to be equipped with an ax in the cockpit. The ax is basically a fire fighting device that the crew can use to cut away through panels in the event of a fire.

Cabin crew do not inform passengers when another dies midflight

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When a passenger dies midflight, the cabin crew will move the deceased to an empty row and cover him with a blanket and prop him on his seat (in the same way the passenger is shown in the above image) to make him appear as dignified as possible. Unless the passengers are aware, the cabin crew will not inform the other passengers that someone passed away to avoid panic.

Some bigger aircraft have designated compartments intended for the bodies of passengers who died midflight.

Cabin crew dim lights during take off and landing for safety in case of emergency

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We are dimming the cabin lights to give you a better view of the city.”

This is the prerecorded announcement we usually hear during landing but the real reason for cabin crew dimming the lights is to help passengers get used to night vision. It is during takeoff and landing that an emergency is likely to occur. In case of emergency or evacuation during landing, passengers will be better equipped since their eyes have already adjusted to darkness.

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