Every year, millions of people use airplanes for leisure and business.
There are still travelers afraid of flying who find it difficult to take to the skies.
That’s why, at Passport Photo Online, we’ve decided to compile the most recent and surprising stats and facts about airplanes to take the fear out of travelers and help them discover the secrets of aviation.
List of Unusual Airplane Facts and Statistics
- Top 15 Airplane Stats and Facts to Know in 2022
- Fun Airplane Facts
- Aviation History Facts
- Trivia Facts about Airplane Passengers
- Riveting Facts and Statistics About Private Jets
- Airports and Airplanes: Facts and Trivia
- FAQ about Airplanes
Top 15 Airplane Stats and Facts to Know in 2022
- The average price of building an airplane ranges from $90M to $115M, depending on its size and capability.
- With a wingspan of 288 feet, a weight of 710 tons, and six engines, the Antonov An-225 Mriya was the largest operational airplane until Russia destroyed it in 2022.
- The plane’s famous “black box” is not black but orange because it’d be more visible in case of an accident.
- The commander and the first officer aren’t allowed to eat the same food. That’s because if something is wrong with the meal, the other pilot can still operate the plane.
- Although it seems airplanes need two engines, some can fly with only one engine for almost five hours.
- The main components of airplanes are titanium, steel, and aluminum.
- The probability of dying in a plane crash is one in 11M, while the possibility of dying in a car crash is one in 5,000. That means your chances of dying in a car accident are 2,200 times higher than in a plane crash.
- The New York to Abu Dhabi flight with Etihad can cost travelers ~$64,000 (one-way).
- While most commercial aircraft reach a maximum of 559 miles per hour, the Lockheed SR-71 (today’s fastest aircraft) achieved a record of 2,199 mph.
- The Airbus A380 is the largest passenger plane that can carry up to 850 people.
- Nearly 43% of pilots admit to falling asleep during the flight.
- The altitude at which commercial aircraft usually fly is between 33,000 and 42,000 feet. It’s called cruising altitude.
- The lifespan of a passenger airplane is ~25 years, after which it is destined for cargo use.
- The longest non-stop flight from Seoul (South Korea) to Buenos Aires (Argentina) lasts 20 hours and 19 minutes.
- Commercial airplanes are struck by lightning an average of two times yearly. Even so, aircraft are prepared to withstand a discharge of that power and avoid significant damage.
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Fun Airplane Facts
- The first flight with the Wright Flyer lasted only 12 seconds and covered 121 feet.
- It is estimated that 96,000 planes fly over our skies every day.
|Number of Planes||Frequency|
- The world’s shortest commercial flight lasts only 80 seconds and travels only 16,77 miles—the distance between the islands of Papa Westray and Westray in Scotland.
- It’s estimated there are between 1.5M and 2.3M pilots worldwide. The country with the most pilots is the USA (730,000 pilots).
Aviation History Facts
- The word airplane/airplane comes from the Greek “aēr,” meaning air, and the Latin term “planus,” which stands for level.
- At the age of 86 (and with 60+ years in aviation), Bette Nash is considered the most experienced flight attendant.
- On May 15, 1930, Ellen Church became the first female flight attendant, working a 20-hour flight from San Francisco to Chicago.
- Although Americans invented the airplane (the Wright brothers), it was Prussians who built the first airport in 1922 in Kaliningrad.
- The first transatlantic flight took place on June 14, 1919.
- New York International Airport opened in 1948 and was known as Idlewild Airport.
Trivia Facts about Airplane Passengers
- There were about 6,000 reports of unruly passengers in 2021 in the US alone.
- The flight crew has the legal authority to use restraint handcuffs if de-escalation tactics don’t work and a passenger threatens the aircraft’s safety.
- Oxygen masks don’t last for the entire flight in case of cabin depressurization. They can only provide air to passengers for ~15 minutes.
- 61% of passengers who sleep on a plane believe they have slept poorly or below average.
Riveting Facts and Statistics About Private Jets
- The largest private jet belongs to Joseph Lau, valued at $367. It has an interior of 1,460 square feet and a spiral staircase connecting the two levels.
- The most expensive private jet in the world is Saudi Prince Al Waleed’s Airbus A380. It’s worth $500M.
- There are 22,000 private aircraft worldwide today.
- Private light aircraft suffer an average of five daily accidents, resulting in ~500 fatalities annually in the US.
- The country with the most private jets is the USA (12,000), followed by Mexico at 950.
|Country||Number of Private Jets|
|The United States of America||12,000|
- There are private jets with saunas, jacuzzis, and other luxury amenities. Thus, Sir Elton John’s $89M private jet features a piano he uses to practice before his musical tours.
- Niger, the most impoverished nation in the world, has 45 private aircraft, with rentals running about $4,000 per hour.
- The price of buying a private jet hangar varies between $30,000 and several million dollars.
Airports and Airplanes: Facts and Trivia
- FedEx has the biggest number of airplanes for cargo transportation, with almost 700 aircraft.
|TOP Companies using airplanes for cargo transportation (in 2022)||Number of airplanes|
- While the United States has the most airports (15,513), there are 26 countries with only one airport, including Gambia and Barbados.
- While in 2020, there were 10 commercial aircraft accidents, there were only five in 2021, and so far, in 2022, there have been none.
- On the island of Saba, there’s an airport with the world’s shortest commercial flight runway, Juancho E Yrausquin. It’s just 1,312 feet long compared to the usual 15-mile-long European runways.
- Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport managed to host 969 take-offs and landings within 24 hours, setting a new record.
- Princess Juliana International Airport in Saint Martin is one of the most challenging airfields to land a plane. The airport is extremely close to Maho Beach, and the runway is short and close to the water.
- Antarctica has 20 airports, but they all have limited and non-public access.
- Airports in London, Dubai, and Singapore are among the most secure in the world.
- Although it’s difficult to know for sure, North Korea has 78 usable airfields, all of which are restricted to tourists.
- Although most airports have only one or two runways for take-off and landing, there are airports with more than four runways. Chicago airport has eight operational runways.
|Airport||Number of Runways|
|Chicago O’Hare International||8|
|Dallas-Ft. Worth International||7|
|Boston Logan International||6|
- The world’s smallest commercial airport sits on the island of Saba in the Caribbean, with only 1,312 feet of space.
FAQ about Airplanes
Are airplanes safer than cars?
Yes, airplanes are safer than cars. The probability of dying in a car accident is 2,200 times higher than in a plane crash.
Can airplanes fly in thunderstorms?
Yes, airplanes can fly in thunderstorms. Pilots will always try to avoid the storm by hovering above or around it, but if they do encounter a thunderstorm, aircraft can still withstand a lightning strike.
How are airplanes made?
The aircraft are engineered with high precision technology in special workshops, and the materials used in the process are mostly titanium, steel, and aluminum.
What airplanes are flying above me?
The most popular aircraft are the Airbus A330, Boeing 777, and Airbus A320.
When were airplanes invented?
The first airplane was invented in the United States of America in 1903 and was nicknamed “Wright Flyer.” During its first flight, it covered 121 feet and landed after 12 seconds.
When was the first airplane crash?
The first airplane crash was five years after its invention, in 1908 in Virginia, USA.
Which airline has the most cancellations in 2022?
The airline that canceled the most flights in 2022 was JetBlue, with a total of 4% of its flights canceled.
Who invented the airplane?
The first airplane design was invented by Wilbur and Orville Wright, also known as the Wright brothers, on December 17, 1903.
Why do airplanes fly so high?
Aircraft fly at an altitude of ~30,000 feet for several reasons, but mostly to reduce costs and avoid air traffic problems.
Why must airplanes wait on the runway?
Planes must wait before taking off because they need permission from the control tower. The air-control operators must ensure no aircraft is scheduled to land so that the take-off can be carried out with maximum safety.
Stacking It All Up
There you have it!
A comprehensive 50+ surprising facts and statistics about airplanes for 2022.
Let us know in the comments if there are any other facts and statistics about airplanes you’d like to discover.
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Martí Buixadera is a travel-lover with a degree in journalism and communication. He currently works at Passport-Photo.Online, contributing with his experience in the communication sector and his journalistic vision in the writing department.